Virtual Reality Application in Education
Education is a very important element in any society. Therefore, it is important for knowledge to be shared in the most efficient ways. We need to take advantage of technologies available in the world today to achieve this goal. This makes virtual reality technology an amazing tool for teaching and learning.
The human brain is generally wired to be able to absorb, retain and reproduce visual or pictorial information to a very large extent. Imagine what would happen when this information is made available in a 3D environment which makes it more fun and exciting.
Remember! We never ever forget our experiences; scientists discovered that the human brain remembers 10% of what it reads, 20% of what it hears and 90% of what it does or simulates.
The simulations from virtual reality can provide a deeper understanding of the material available to the learner.
Over the years, we have heard a lot about the ability of virtual reality to change the way we learn, teach and how it can provide in-depth knowledge to help us understand new concepts, subjects and languages better. Virtual reality creates an avenue for students to explore without necessarily leaving the four-walls of their classrooms. Students can visit a whole new world and have a better or professional orientation about that particular location without moving. They can witness what happened in history; helping them see things much better than the explanations and images in classrooms could possible illustrate.
Mind blowing right?
Some examples of educational virtual reality technology are;
- The king tut virtual reality app which provides full experiences of ancient history. This experience takes its users to the ancient tomb of Tutankhamuri which has historical artifacts presented in a 360⁰ virtual environment.
- The discovery virtual reality app by discovery channel which provides immersive experiences on different places of our planet; Earth.
- The virtual reality simulation Apollo 11 recreates the July 1969 moon landing. This experience allows you control and fly the command module, land the lunar lander and explore the surface of the moon.
- The Tilt brush app by Google creates art in a 3D environment. This app allows students explore a very large canvas space, leading to the creation of master pieces.
- Unimersiv is one Virtual reality technology company that creates virtual reality content for schools including the human anatomy, visiting tours to Rome and the Acropolis of Athens. They also provide virtual reality content for students to learn about Stonehenge and the dinosaurs.
The ways by which virtual reality technology can be applied in education include;
1. Virtual reality field trips: Generally, field trips have been used in education as a tool of learning. But what about virtual field trips? Sometimes, the destination the teacher would want to pick for a field trip might not be feasible. I Mean, who takes children to the moon on a field trip? This is exactly where virtual reality comes in. it brings the moon to you! The Google expedition app is currently in use for the transportation of students to far away parts of the planet. The headset available on the app allows her users to explore anything and everything including deep sea and outer space.
2. Learn Languages: Since most schools cannot afford to fly all of their students to another country to learn the languages, the least they can do is make available virtual reality simulations that can immerse them into another city to help them learn and speak these new languages. The brain is tricked into believing the experience is real and genuine and thus, students get really excited and find themselves learning these languages. An example of a language virtual reality app used for this purpose is the Unimersiv language app. This app connects with the Oculus Rift headset and also offers games that help students interact with other students speaking a different language in the virtual world.
3. Learn skills: virtual reality simulations also provide students with the opportunity to learn skills. An advantage of this is that, students can have firsthand realistic experiences without the risk or danger that might be incurred if the skills or trainings were done in real life. This makes students really comfortable and helps them perform optimally when faced with the real life scenario.
4. Architecture and design: Virtual reality is used to spark creativity in students especially in architecture. The Oculus Rift headset makes it possible for students to take 3D models generated by computers and immerse viewers into these models. This helps to bring their models or plans alive. The primary students of Ireland have used virtual reality to construct 3D models of the historical Irish sites and then visited them in a virtual world.
5. Distance learning: The application of virtual reality in education eradicates the need to always be in class. Students that take online courses can improve their learning outcomes through simulation by allowing online students to interact with their teachers and other students.
6. Virtual campus visits: Virtual reality tour of campuses is now available for intended students. This gives intended students a first class experience on what it would be like schooling in these universities. This tour uses photos and videos of campuses and their surroundings at 360-degrees to enable students pick what university will best fit their needs, carrier choice and lifestyle. For example the university of Michigan football program allows students to see what it feels like to play at the university’s stadium through their virtual reality tour.
7. Medical programs: Virtual reality simulations are used to prepare medical students for real life situations. They are able to perform and master very risky and time consuming operations and surgeries in a virtual world without putting real life patients at risk.
Although virtual reality technology is an amazing tool for learning and teaching, the technology has not been adopted by most educational platforms. This is mostly due to the fact that virtual reality technology is very expensive.
However, Virtual reality makes the process of learning really fascinating. With virtual reality, students are not confined to the four-walls of their classrooms, science subjects are better understood and information gathered is never forgotten.