5 ways virtual reality will change education forever
It has been known for quite some time, our education system is in dire need of an overhaul. Teachers are struggling with growing class sizes and uninterested students who are simply disengaged. Our brains are constantly stimulated by smart phones, social media and streaming services to the point where we sacrificed our attention spans. What could once hold our attention is now just a distraction to our thirst for interconnectivity and information. Is it a lost cause then? How we can we keep our children focused in the classroom and give them a world class education?
Virtual reality has shown promise in the field of education, one of the largest areas of investment for the technology alongside healthcare, real estate and marketing. By immersing students inside virtual worlds and experience, we can remove many of the distractions that the classroom offers and instead brings their awareness to the core of the lesson. Here are five ways virtual reality is changing education.
Distanced Based Learning
Students no longer need to be physically present in a classroom. Experiences have been created that are dedicated to creating a virtual classroom to provide the student with an optimal learning experience. This could enormous potential for students in remote areas who don’t have the means to receive top quality education in cities.
There already exists distance education through the use of virtual reality in several universities around the world. As virtual reality becomes more affordable and accessible, it is very likely that virtual reality will become a part of education in the same way the computer has.
Virtual Field Trips
Field trips would normally require a lot of planning and coordination. The school would also be liable for the safety of the students. Now with virtual reality, field trips could be as simple as loading up an experience on your individual device and visiting a location in 360 degree immersion. This gives students the opportunity to see first hand how certain historicals sites may have appeared at their peak and countless other experiences that provide students with a top tier lesson without having to leave the classroom.
Google has been pioneering virtual field trips through their app Google Expeditions which can be viewed with nothing more than a smartphone and a Google Cardboard device costing as little as $5.
Game Based Learning
There are always going to be students who aren’t engaged at school because their learning style is different from their peers. These children are often deemed to be below average in academic ability when in fact they are just not interested. Virtual reality offers students the chance to learn through gamification.
Gamification is where an experience designed to train or educate a user is designed to function as a game to deliver the intended result. This means that students are able to learn through games, stimulating areas of their brain associated with reward and fulfilment while at the same time they are learning from these experiences.
Greater cooperation between student and teacher
Some people feel that teachers are stretched thin and are no longer able to give students special attention, especially they are falling behind. By immersing a student in a virtual classroom, with no other students or distractions, and placing them face to face with an educator, they are able to have a direct learning experience rather than being challenged to keep up with the rest of the class.
This could mean that students who were unable to keep up in class could use a virtual reality headsets to go over a particular class again with the teacher in a one on one environment.
Practical learning experience can be difficult for certain schools to provide. Skills that place a great deal of a emphasis of technical skills and specialised knowledge such as trade schools or agricultural schools benefit from virtual reality. The vast amount of resources required and the relatively high fees for practical based education can put many students at a disadvantage.
Virtual reality gives these students the opportunity to carry out simulations of highly technical tasks that would otherwise be very expensive to replicate. The costs are even greater given the amount of waste that can be incurred while training students to use tools. Through virtual reality, students are able to place themselves in a training ground with 3D models of those same tools and experiment without the scarcity of resources.
Changing our approach to education
Our education system has undergone rapid change since the introduction of computers and the internet to our schools. Virtual reality is the next step in providing students with a largely untapped pool of educational sources that will provide students with education on a scale never seen before in human history. The experiences we create to day will lay the foundations for our future generations to prosper and apply their knowledge in ways we can barely grasp today.