Virtual Reality is being established as the next big thing in the tech world. It has a lot of promise even for other industries, like education. Some are already claiming that VR will indeed change education. Will it?
Actually, yes. It is entirely possible. The benefits are quite clear, at least at first glance. Imagine flying through the air to a new destination or to even explore the Moon for example. Or finding yourself in a virtual simulation just about anything you can imagine.
People are already doing that. Universities in Japan have developed an earthquake VR simulation that puts the user in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and/or a tsunami wave. The idea is simple – to show the user a glimpse of what is like to be involved in such an event and to learn how to react better. Medical schools on the other hand are using VR to do simulations of various operations.
Schools are also slowly adopting VR into classes. Students in the San Francisco Unified School District and Polk County Public Schools in Florida are the first to use Nearpod VR virtual reality lesson plans. Using branded Google Cardboards, teachers can send classes on over 25 virtual field trip lessons, Forbes reports. Kids can see and learn more about the pyramids in Egypt, Mars, landmarks across the US and can even take a glimpse from the top of the world’s tallest buildings.
Granted, VR is not that useful for subjects like math, literature and so on. But it can be used to augment physics and chemistry lessons for example. It is quite likely that VR will not change education fundamentally. It will, though, add a new, interactive and fun layer to it which will increase the engagement and interest in students.
What about remote learning and virtual trainings? Judging by the current trends, in a few years VR headsets will become widely affordable. This could open new doors for remote trainings. Oculus VR for example is working on a cinema app that will put you in a virtual cinema along with the virtual image of your friend who might be on the other side of the world. With a similar tech one could easily recreate an entire classroom with people from all over the world attending the same training.
VR will for sure the reason for quite a few future edtech companies to pop up. If they can find a good niche, they can expect good results. As a whole VR will have an important role in education, but don’t expect huge transformations because of it.
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / UTKnightCenter