The emergence of technologies has changed our world almost beyond recognition. Fifty years ago we couldn’t imagine that it would be possible to pay for products using a thin piece of plastic. But enough of that. All of us are aware of the technologies we have. Let’s talk about the newest one: Virtual Reality. It showed up to the masses a few years ago and became a catalyst for almost everything we use. VR (an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment) applies to fields like medicine, engineering, education, psychology, business-trainings and many others. Implementing virtual reality into medicine helps people with autism develop social skills and facilitates fighting anxiety attacks, depression and simple pain. Testing cars and vehicles became more safe and cheap. Architects now can design well-considered buildings. If I continued this list you would never read what the title says.
VR in education
The mission of new technologies is to make everything easier and more profitable. With the advent of a projector a teacher could show educational videos to all students in the class. The invention of the internet and email let us get rid of paper journals and maintain a classroom report online. Google Docs give us an amazing opportunity to work on a project interactively and make corrections in real time. Does the educational process become easier to manage? Definitely. Now take a look at changes VR has brought to schools and colleges.
Better Sense of Place
Google announced its new product named Google Expeditions a year ago. Now it is widely used all over the world. This app lets you travel to many places in the world without leaving a classroom. With a VR headset students can visit a place they are learning about instead of looking at pictures in a book or on a webpage. It is an excellent improvement for history and geography classes. This app not only improves the quality of lessons but involves students because it is incredibly spectacular!
Learn by doing
The best way to learn is practicing. Imagine you can use all reagents at chemistry classes. You can mix them up as you want and watch the real reaction. At biology classes you can conduct real-time experiments, explore an animal’s body or monitor a process of evolution. Usually, students can’t practice everything because of the absence of required things, materials etc. VR provides an opportunity to do whatever they want. It became easier to learn by doing.
Gamification is becoming more common in schools. Games involve students more than a boring lecture. VR profits would skyrocket of implementing games into educational process. Also, the kinesthetic experience is adding to the visual one. Students fall into a fully interactive environment and their perception of reality differs from the previous model (learning by games on a tablet or a phone).
A virtual visit to a university
At the early 1920s students were choosing university by advice from their parents or friends. Ten years ago it was possible to find a university’s page on a web, read about it and what other people say. Now students can attend a virtual tour to look at the university from the inside. They can see how their campus looks, on what bed they would be sleeping and how auditorium looks like. These tours help students to choose their future university more accurately and wisely.
There are many situations when a smart student from, let’s say, Malaysia can’t afford studying at an expensive university. He even can’t pay for a ticket to the USA. But he deserves that level of education. VR can let these people study distantly. They can attend math classes in New York or florida essay competition without being there. Stanford school of business is already offering a certificate program for students from third world countries.
New language learning
The best way to learn a new language is to dive in a native speaker’s environment. It’s obvious that most of us can’t afford to stay in another country for months or even weeks. But what we can do is to use virtual immersion. Virtual reality tricks the brain and it can totally believe that the environment is real. Also, it would help to fight the fear of real conversation in a foreign language. (The fear that many people are facing)
Virtual reality just took its first steps
VR has been implemented not a long time ago and we haven’t opened all its benefits. Every month a new use of virtual reality shows up in classrooms. These changes would lead only to positive results. VR is interesting for everybody, especially for the young generation. Now we can raise the average level of education to incredible heights.