When I first started to research the topic of virtual reality in education, my position was that I was against it. To be quite honest, I didn’t know enough about the topic and I thought of the movies such as The Matrix and Tron. It all seemed entirely too futuristic for education. I then remembered when I first saw a demo of the SmartBoard in 2005, I didn’t think that type of device would last. I thought that was also too futuristic and it would never be used in an educational setting. Less than two years later, I was using a SmartBoard in my classroom. I then started to really think about virtual reality, and I was still against it in education, but this time, the main reason was because of the cost. It seemed very unattainable in “normal” education. It seemed that there was too much costly equipment, (ie: headphones, goggles, special gloves) and school have a hard enough time purchasing up-to-date computers for students. I then started researched the benefits of virtual reality in education. I have found that there are actually many benefits to integrating virtual reality (VR) in an educational setting.  One main benefit for using virtual reality in education is to get students excited about learning. With all of the technological advances and devices that students have at their houses (ie: game consoles, Smartphones, ect.) motivating students in education is becoming increasingly difficult. When students have a chance to learn using a “game-like” environment, such as the one found using VR, they will be motivated to learn and pay attention. Some of the other benefits of using virtual reality in the classroom are:

  • Encourages students to be creative
  • Provides students with skills needed for digital world
  • Allows students to attend school from anywhere
  • Many students can use a 3D environment at the same time
  • Students can interact more when VR is used
  • Great way for visual learners to learn
  • It is a virtual “hands-on” type of environment
  • Students can “visit” locations such as Rome, volcanoes, or space to learn more
  • Easy to differentiate learning

Just like any new piece of technology that is introduced in the classroom, there will be a learning curve around using virtual reality. Students will need to be taught the correct way to use it, and once the novelty wears off, I think students will look at virtual worlds and reality as more than just games and instead, as real learning experiences.

 

 

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