Education technologies are becoming prevalent in the world of education. New ideas and technologies are developed every day with the goal of simplifying and improving the educational experience for all. Virtual Reality has been around for some time but never so advanced in its capabilities.
But what is Virtual Reality? This technology is comprised of pieces of equipment e.g. a headset with a screen covering the person's eyes and may include specialized gloves, treadmill or other haptic equipment such as motion controllers for movement. This equipment allows the user to experience a virtual prefabricated 3D world that can be a reproduction of an existing or imaginary world in which the user can virtually interact with his surroundings.
Users of this technology gain both recreational and educational experiences. Virtual Reality can change the status quo in Education and Teaching.
Virtual reality is a combination of technologies that are used to visualize and provide interaction with a realistic or imaginary environment. For example, a user can explore real places (realistic) through VR or even video games (imaginary interactive environments).
There are no choice limitations in the virtual world. Realistic or imaginary, macroscopic or microscopic and as a result broadly applicable in many areas when it comes to education and training. What makes VR amazing and different from any other tool used in education technology is probably the fact that it allows multi-sensory interaction with the space that is visualized.
Virtual Reality technology has been used as a tool for education in a variety of educational levels, from K-12 level to vocational training and military training. Virtual Reality has become a tool to help diversify the way a person can learn. Subjects that have been challenging to many people have become less so, due to the fact that through a more creative and engaging technology such as Virtual Reality people experience the subject live in front of their eyes.
This is where virtual reality helps solve problems. Even the most abstract concepts, especially in STEM fields, can be easily comprehended if there is an observable example for the student to experience. It is certainly quite helpful if you can “walk into somebody else’s shoes”. This education model can easily work to society’s advantage.
There are quite a few advantages that the use of virtual reality offers when it comes to education. As we mentioned, this can be an incredible tool, particularly for science and medicine. But what are the advantages when it comes to teaching students via VR:
Imagine if students could visit places in history such as Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and experience through VR the rise and fall of Civilizations, Empires. The study of history can change from a tedious reading and teaching based class into an interactive, experiential teaching format that can engage students and make the course fun.
Students would be able to experience how it would be like to work in many different occupations. This can save students valuable time from choosing the wrong occupation and they can actually make better choices for their future.
Instead of making choices that may lead them to a pathway that, later on, they will regret, students can have a better chance of choosing a fulfilling carrier that will bring them not only success but happiness. With that being said, students would be able to experience the type of work environments of their choise, such as hospitals, schools, ships etc.
Virtual reality is an asset in the classroom and will certainly give students experiences that they could not gain otherwise. Virtual reality offers experiences with no geographical limits and at a reasonable cost; students will be able to travel to remote countries and experience many different cultures. Experiences that people a few years ago only dreamed of.
This will definitely help in expanding students minds and give them the ability to acquire their own point of view based on real experiences and not just assumptions and generalizations based on what they’ve heard from their social circle or the internet. This revolutionary tool could also possibly make students be kinder and more empathetic as these experiences can hopefully diminish a stereotyping mindset and provide understanding instead.
A large part of the population faces major learning difficulties. Many times, this leads to dropping out of school or not being able to perform at their best because the learning material is quite complex and is not presented in an understendable way . Virtual reality can simplify the learning experience and give an alternative learning method that can be more effective and engaging.
To conclude, educational technology is constantly improving with revolutionary new ideas and methods to make the learning process more engaging. Virtual reality is one of them and probably one of the most useful. There are not many cons in virtual reality entering the educational world and children’s classes.
So, the challenge for educators and parents is to be open-minded and embrace technology instead of being afraid of it. All in all, to go further we need innovation, and this is nothing but taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones. The acceptance of technology is significant for the evolution of society as well as a valuable tool we can use to face the problems of today. We can’t know exactly what the future has instore for education, but the future does look bright!
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