Virtual reality (VR) is one of the most exciting educational technologies of the 21st century. It allows students to immerse themselves in another world while simplifying complex topics in new ways.
VR is an affordable, accessible, and scalable technology educators can use to reach large audiences cost-effectively. Integrating VR into your school can positively impact students' engagement, academic achievement, and enthusiasm for learning.
However, it's not without its challenges - and schools must be aware of them if they want to achieve the full potential of VR in their classrooms. This article covers the potential benefits of VR in schools, common methods of implementation, and challenges of using it.
1. VR in Schools
Virtual reality in schools, also known as educational VR, is the application of VR technology into the education sector. VR technology creates a virtual world where students can explore and learn new things.
From delivering lectures and textbooks to enhancing STEAM lessons and games, VR simplifies several activities involved in everyday classroom learning. VR in education is fuelled by the growing popularity of headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, as well as mobile phone-based solutions like Google Cardboard.
VR in schools is fairly new. It's only been available in classrooms since 2016 when the Oculus Rift headset and Xbox controller launched. The technology was initially limited to gaming but has grown to include more educational uses in recent years.
2. The Potential of VR in Schools
VR has the potential to improve engagement and retention among students. Teachers can also use it to reduce student stress and enhance focus.
The immersive technology serves as an engaging escape from the stress and distractions of everyday life and acts as a great technological resource students can turn to when they need to unwind.
Teachers can use VR apps to teach lessons, share resources, and engage students. Plus, VR in the classroom helps with navigation and improves understanding of content.
3. Use Cases of VR in the Classroom
Recent research has shown that frequent VR users experience less stress and burn out than those who are not frequent VR users.
VR in schools serves many purposes. The most common are delivering lessons and lectures, sharing resources like textbooks and course content, delivering assessments, practicing tests, and exam preparation.
VR can help with language comprehension and empathy building. It can teach students about different cultures and help them better understand others by immersing them in the experience - improving focus and reducing stress.
As a distraction-free learning tech, VR headsets allow students to refocus after periods of intense study while delivering therapy programs that can help with anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, and low self-esteem.
4. Common Benefits of VR in Education
Many of the benefits offered by VR in schools are like those of its usage in gaming, such as the ability to provide engaging content and improve learning.
You can use VR in education to create different types of content, from educational simulations to interactive games - endorse it for self-assessment and other instructional purposes, like delivering lectures and textbooks.
VR can also serve more creative purposes, such as creating music videos and short films. This is a fun way to share content with the school community and help students express themselves creatively.
VR in the classroom can also help promote educational topics like engineering, science, or coding. It can make these topics more engaging and accessible to students while also providing an immersive environment that can help build confidence and enthusiasm.
5. Challenges of VR in Education
Despite the many potential benefits of VR in education, there are some challenges that any user must be aware of.
The most significant VR challenge is the availability of hardware. This can vary depending on the types of headsets used, but for the most part, high-end headsets are only available on the Oculus Store and HTC Vive. This means that the hardware required to run VR in schools is only available to a limited number of institutions - posing a challenge for budget-constrained schools.
VR is a new technology, and as such, it has some limitations. These include hardware limitations, software limitations, and game/content limitations.
VR in schools needs to be compatible with all three of these, and while it's being refined, there will always be limitations. It's important to stay abreast of these limitations and work with a VR provider to ensure the best experience possible.
6. What you should know when deciding to use VR in your school
Deciding whether to use VR in your school can get overwhelming, especially if you're new to the technology. Before deciding to use VR, it's important to understand the pros and cons of the technology and how it can enhance the learning curve.
VR in education is a relatively new field. As such, it has only recently been implemented in schools. It's important to understand the challenges and limitations of the technology. It's also important to perform a cost-benefit analysis of VR in schools to help determine whether it's worth the investment for your school.
VR in schools has many advantages that make it a great tool for education, such as improving engagement and retention, reducing stress, and improving focus.
Teachers can use VR to create personalized content with gaming simulations for self-assessment while promoting STEM topics.
VR helps in fields like medicine, astronomy, architecture, engineering, and many others. However, VR comes with its own sets of challenges, such as hardware availability, software limitations, and game/content limitations. It's important to stay abreast of these challenges and work with a reputable VR provider to ensure the best experience possible.