With education as a whole shifting more towards online modes post the COVID-19 Pandemic, virtual reality could be a groundbreaking addition to any classroom setup. Incorporating VR in education makes learning fun, interactive, and more engaging.
But people still have reservations about the cost of VR equipment and the health/safety issues associated with virtual reality learning.
Do you want to learn the truth about the cost of VR adoption and the safety concerns associated with VR learning?
On June 09, 2022, at 11 a.m. EST, XR Guru is conducting a webinar on "The Truth About Virtual Reality: Safety and Cost." This webinar will discuss the cost involved and the safety issues associated with virtual reality.
Join us to get valuable insights on virtual reality learning.
1. How Much Does VR Education Cost? It All Depends!
A question often asked about virtual reality is, "How much does VR learning cost?" and it is not easy to give just one answer.
The cost of adopting VR in schools depends on several factors, such as the quality of VR headsets, content customization, level of interactions, etc.
Let us explore the cost of a VR-based classroom setup and the factors that could change the price.
1.1. Hardware Costs
With VR content, you need a way to watch and interact with the VR simulation. This implies you have to invest in VR headsets to get the full VR experience. The cost of setting up a VR classroom can go up to thousands of dollars, depending on the equipment you choose. For instance, Facebook's Oculus Meta Quest 2 costs $300 per headset, whereas Microsoft HoloLens 2 costs $3500 per unit. If you want a more cost-friendly option, you can opt for Cardboard Headsets that cost around $7 to $12 per piece. However, these Cardboard Headsets do not offer a high-quality VR experience.
1.2. Software Development Costs
Once you have decided on the hardware equipment, the next step is to figure out the software. The VR software development costs may vary depending on several factors, such as:
- The complexity of the simulation
- What functionality do you want from the VR software
- How many people will be using the VR software
1.3. Content Creation Costs
The most important thing you need for your virtual reality learning program is VR content. This is where things can get expensive; the fancier the content, the more expensive it can become. You can create the content in-house or outsource VR content creation. Content creation costs can go from a few thousand dollars to a hundred thousand dollars based on your requirements and the quality of VR experience you aspire to provide.
Fortunately, there are commercially available packages on the market today offering high quality VR content at reasonable prices (i.e., over 100 topics starting at around $70 per licenses on an annual subscription). These packages are usually priced based on a sliding scale, the more licenses purchased, the lower the cost per license.
2. Is VR Safe?
Learning in a safe and controlled computer-generated environment makes VR-based learning exciting. VR presents a low-risk environment for learners to practice and sharpen their skills. Risky training activities such as heavy machinery training, medical surgeries, fire drills, etc., can be simulated using VR.
Though virtual reality brings several advantages to a classroom and elevates students' learning experience to new heights, it can sometimes cause concern for parents and teachers when it comes to safety. Prolonged use of VR can cause VR sickness, dizziness, or various health issues. Approximately 25-40% of VR users experience VR sickness, with the most common symptoms being "general discomfort, headache, nausea, fatigue, drowsiness, and lack of emotion." These symptoms of VR sickness can become more evident after hours of continuous usage. Some children and young students under the age of 20 may experience dizziness, seizures, and eye problems.
Health issues are not the only concern among parents; according to a survey by Common Sense Media, 70% of parents worry that their children may be exposed to inappropriate or violent content. Also, 67% of parents fear that exposure to VR media may lead to addiction to the virtual world.
3. How to Educate and Learn Safe with VR
As schools start to utilize virtual reality technology in education, it is the responsibility of educators to ensure all the students are safe during their training. Here are some tips that educators can follow to reduce the risk of safety hazards and health issues.
3.1. Create a Safe Environment
Being part of a fully immersive environment means that you need to create a safe classroom environment. Pay special attention to removing all tripping hazards from the classroom area before starting the VR simulation. Set up the VR activity away from stairs, windows, walls, or other items that students may bump into when using a VR headset.
3.2. Limit Physical Movement
It is safe to use VR while sitting down unless moving around is a critical part of a particular training activity. So, ensure that students do not move around too much when they have their headsets on. Moving around can lead to injuries from tripping or running into walls or other objects.
3.3. Short VR Activities
It is good practice to limit students to short sessions in the VR world. VR is not meant to be used for a prolonged period. VR lessons should be designed as short activities. It is suggested to spend a maximum of 20-30 minutes in a VR activity to avoid disorientation and cybersickness. Also, taking a 10–15-minute break every 30 minutes is a healthy practice.
3.4. Show Age-Appropriate Content
Before exposing students to VR content, make sure the content is appropriate for their age and development level. Ensure you make it clear to students objects in the virtual environment are fake and do not exist in the real world.
3.5. Watch for Symptoms
Virtual reality is still a new technology, and the effects of VR are not well-documented. Some young learners are more liable to eye problems, headaches, and nausea. The most important rule when it comes to VR lessons is that if your students start feeling sick, you have to stop the VR simulation immediately.
3.6. Pair Up Students
It is a safe practice to pair up students during VR activities. Having a second person act as a watcher ensures the safety of the VR participant in the real world.
3.7. Sanitize the Equipment
Proper sanitation is crucial if students are sharing a VR device with others. Sanitize all the parts that may touch students' faces. Ask students to wear something like a bandanna or headscarf to absorb sweat. To quicken the sanitation process, you can invest in washable VR covers.
4. Why Choose VR?
You may wonder, "Why invest in VR if there are risks?" While it is true that there are some safety issues related to VR learning, the benefits of VR-based education outweigh these issues and help transform the educational process. Here are some compelling reasons to adopt a virtual reality-based learning approach.
- Immersive learning experience
- A visual approach to learning
- Hands-on experience with relatively low risk
- Heightened student engagement
- Better retention rates
- Enhanced remote learning
5. Explore New Horizons with Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is one of the fascinating technologies with the potential to transform how we learn, teach, and interact with students. But VR is still in the initial phase of adoption, and like any new technology, VR faces some challenges.
A few of the biggest obstacles to VR adoption in small schools is its price factor and safety concerns. However, with the continuous reduction in the cost of VR software and hardware, and as VR becomes more prominent, experts will find ways to minimize the health effects of prolonged VR usage.
If you are looking to take the learning experience to new heights, consider virtual reality. Invest in immersive education today so our children can learn better and build a better tomorrow.
Want to incorporate VR in your classroom? XR Guru is an immersive learning hub that brings learning to life with the power of immersive technology. With an extensive content library and tools to boost student engagement, XR Guru is a smart choice for all your virtual reality learning needs.
Join Us for Our Next Webinar
Title: The Truth About Virtual Reality: Safety & Cost
Get Ready for Experiential Learning!
If you are thinking about incorporating virtual reality in your school, learn all about the costs & the safety risks involved in setting up a VR-based classroom!
Join our live webinar on June 9, 2022, to learn more about budgeting for VR educational content and the safety guidelines to be followed while using VR. If you cannot attend, register anyway, and we will send you the recording.
Host: Doug Smith
When and Where:
11:00 a.m. EST, Thursday, June 9, 2022
Duration: 25 Minutes
Goal: To help educators and administrators understand the cost of setting up a VR classroom and how to overcome the VR-related safety hazards.
Who Should Join:
- Principals (HS and MS)
- Content Creators
- Subject Matter Experts
- Business & Industry Heads
- Those aspiring to incorporate VR in education
Highlights of the Webinar:
- Learn about the cost involved in adopting VR-based learning
- Learn how to budget for VR content
- Learn tips to avoid VR-related safety/health hazards
- View Samples of VR content
- Grab the chance for a free consultation on your virtual reality needs
Outcome: Attending this webinar can help you understand the safety and costs involved in implementing virtual reality in classrooms.