Virtual reality (VR) has been taking the world by storm in recent years; completely changing the way we look at various aspects of our daily lives.
From creating immersive gaming experiences to revolutionising the way that astronauts train to be sent into space, there aren’t many industries that haven’t benefitted from the emergence of virtual reality equipment.
One industry that has started to jump on the virtual reality bandwagon is education. Although the traditional classroom setup is still the ‘norm’ for schools across the globe, many are starting to introduce VR-related platforms to create innovative and engaging learning environments for students.
How is VR used in education?
The global virtual reality in education market size is expected to reach $13,098 / £10,596 million by 2026, a significant increase from 2018 when it was valued at just $656.6 /£531.21 million.
Perhaps fuelling this is the knowledge that VR can make a real difference to learning outcomes. In a recent survey, 85% of teachers believed that introducing virtual reality into the classroom would have a positive impact on learning, yet only 2% currently have access to this equipment. If more VR equipment could be brought into schools, some of the ways it could be used include:
- Improving communication skills between students.
- Facilitate better collaboration opportunities with children across the globe.
- Improve student engagement rates by keeping students focused during lessons.
- Create an accessible learning environment for every student.
- Help students build emotional intelligence.
- Help students understand complex subjects using engaging tasks and simulations.
How are AI and VR used in education?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality can be used in a range of classrooms with students of all ages. Here are some interesting examples of how these new technologies can be used:
- Teachers can use Google Expeditions to take their students to faraway places – like Mount Everest or The Louvre – without ever having to step on a flight.
- Take art students out for a day at a museum using Steam’s VR Museum of Fine Art where they can see all of their favourite paintings.
- Remove the barriers to learning new languages with Mondly. This VR world lets students have real conversations with real people so they can master a new language in no time.
- Medical students can use Microsoft HoloLens to get an inside view of the human body using VR to help them learn how to treat a variety of medical conditions.
Why VR is the future of education?
Virtual reality is still in its development phase, especially when it comes to its usage in the education industry, but it does look like this technology is going to be the future of education.
VR is able to provide an immersive learning experience to all students, no matter their location, allowing them to be transported anywhere. Whether they’re in a history class studying the Romans and want to go back to Ancient Rome, or if they want to experience a professional laboratory first-hand.
It’s an incredibly engaging way for students to learn and is a safe environment to explore new topics without consequences – something which is particularly important for subjects like science or engineering.
What is the disadvantage of VR in education?
Despite the current rise in VR-related tools being used in the classroom, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some disadvantages that educators and students should be aware of.
1. VR can be expensive
Integrating virtual reality into a school can be extremely costly, especially if you’re looking into state-of-the-art equipment and software.
As more industries start to adopt this equipment, and as new innovations come into place to drive down the cost of equipment, it may be more realistic for more schools to use VR.
2. VR can’t replace in-person learning
Virtual reality can create a very real learning experience for students, but this doesn’t mean that it should be used to replace in-person teaching altogether.
An important part of a child’s early development is socialising with other children, building relationships, improving communication skills, and learning by example, a lot of skills that can’t necessarily be improved when learning through virtual reality.
3. VR doesn’t allow for flexibility
Depending on the VR technology that a teacher is using, it can be very hard to tailor lessons to suit the individual needs of each student.
Students all learn in different ways, at very different paces, which can make it difficult for some to keep up with a fast-paced lesson in a virtual environment. If teachers want to make sure that every child is able to get the most out of every lesson, it’s important to look into platforms that do offer flexibility – like allowing teachers to stop mid-lesson to answer questions, to tailor tasks to suit different academic levels, etc.