Virtual reality (VR) is becoming more common in education as more schools adopt the technology. VR allows students to experience destinations around the world without leaving the classroom. Imagine if students could explore the Pyramids of Giza while sitting at their desks. That's exactly what virtual reality makes possible in education.
Most people have heard of virtual reality (VR), but many don't know what it is or how it is used in learning and education. VR refers to interactive content (images or videos) that allows the viewer to explore the entire 360 degrees of a scene.
The virtual reality most commonly used in education is 360° video. In this type of VR, real places are filmed with 360° cameras.
The VR content can then be viewed using VR headsets. 360VR can be used in education to teach students about the world around them. In addition, virtual reality has the unique ability to inspire and engage students. Students are enabled to experience places that would be inaccessible in reality or too costly to travel to. In this way, virtual reality opens up a whole new world of possibilities for teachers and schools.
Advantages and opportunities through virtual reality in education and schools
Virtual reality can enhance education by providing students with memorable and immersive experiences that would not otherwise be possible. What's more, these experiences can take place in the classroom. VR is accessible to every student and can be easily monitored by teachers. Given the growth of VR in education and the positive response from schools, it would not be surprising to see VR incorporated into the curriculum one day.
There are many ways virtual reality can help students, but the main points are:
VR headsets are a common and practical way to implement VR in the classroom. With manageable cost, equipment and space requirements, more and more schools are turning to VR headsets. A class of 30 students typically requires up to 15 headsets. These are usually wireless all-in-one headsets, meaning they do not need to be connected to another device such as a computer. Teachers are trained on how to use the headsets before conducting a class.
The main advantage of VR headsets is that they offer a high level of immersion. An experience that students will not soon forget.
VR can greatly help students with learning disabilities. Students can learn about the world around them in a safe and controlled environment. As with elementary students, immersive classrooms are the most popular form of VR for helping students with learning disabilities. It's not uncommon for students to have difficulty using VR headsets. With an immersive classroom, teachers can deliver instruction in a much more normal way. Students can still explore and navigate the virtual environment, but they can do so in a familiar way without feeling confined. VR has been shown to be helpful for students with autism. A study by Strickland et al. (2007) showed that children with autism were able to transfer skills learned in a virtual environment to the real world. These included skills in fire management and road safety. - Source VR can help students with learning disabilities and younger children understand road safety.
Challenges in the adaptation of virtual reality in education
Integrating virtual reality (VR) into education can make learning interactive and engaging, but it also presents several challenges.
Introducing VR into schools requires a significant financial investment. The cost of VR headsets, controllers, and associated software can be a hurdle, especially for public schools with limited budgets. In addition, there are ongoing costs for maintenance, repairs, and updates that must be considered.
The technical implementation of VR in the classroom can be complex. Solutions must be found for compatibility with existing systems, the necessary infrastructure, and technical support. Training teachers in its use and troubleshooting is also a critical factor.
VR must be meaningfully integrated into the curriculum to maximize learning. This requires adaptation of teaching methods and materials. Teachers must be trained to use the technology effectively and provide students with a high-quality learning experience.
Student health and safety is of paramount importance. Potential health effects such as eye strain, dizziness, or other physical reactions to VR must be considered. Safety protocols and guidelines for use must be developed and implemented.
Privacy and cybersecurity are key concerns when using VR. The security of student data and protection from unauthorized access or cyberattacks must be ensured. This requires robust security systems and protocols.
All students should have equal access to VR technology, regardless of their socioeconomic background. It is necessary to find solutions to ensure that the technology is inclusive and accessible to all students, and to adapt it to different learning needs.
Quality control: ensuring the quality, relevance, and pedagogy of VR content.
Content creation: creating high-quality, education-specific material can be challenging and time-consuming.
Overcoming these challenges will require a combined effort by educational institutions, governments, VR developers, and other stakeholders to ensure that the integration of VR into education is both effective and sustainable.
A virtual field trip allows students to experience a place in a memorable and immersive way, supported by VR. Without the need for consent forms, teachers can take students to incredible places without leaving the classroom. Watch a short video montage of footage we captured at Roche Abbey in Yorkshire below. You can click on the video or scroll over it to explore the full scene.
This content can be viewed on a VR headset. VR headsets allow students to experience a place in a realistic way by moving their head to look around and explore their surroundings.
Virtual field trips are one of the most common ways VR is used in education, offering many benefits to both students and schools.
Almost every student enjoys a school field trip, whether it is to a museum, a monument, or even to another country. Unfortunately, many students are unable to attend for a variety of reasons. This can be due to a disability, cost, or transportation issues, just to name a few reasons. With VR, every student can enjoy the same field trip experience together and free of charge. This level of inclusion, with a participation rate of 100%, is simply not possible with traditional field trips.
Schools can save time and money by providing travel experiences without having to leave the classroom. Virtual field trips are cost-effective compared to traditional field trips, which incur costs for transportation, lodging, and other expenses.
Virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize education and provide students with unique learning experiences. From allowing students to explore places around the world to fostering creativity and social interaction, VR offers a variety of benefits for students and schools. By implementing VR into the classroom, teachers can make learning more exciting and engaging, and give students the opportunity to think outside the box and discover new horizons.
As VR technology becomes more available and VR content continues to evolve, virtual reality will continue to take hold in education and change the way students learn. It's time for schools to integrate this exciting technology into their curricula and allow students to explore the world around them in a whole new way.