Although many universities and informal classrooms used technology prior to 2020, the pandemic forced educators to rapidly implement new tech to continue teaching during the height of COVID-19. Many students and teachers enjoyed the new tools at their disposal and have continued to utilize them as people return to real-life classrooms.
How Can VR Be Used in Education?
Experts predict the VR in education market size will hit $13.9 trillion by 2026, with a combined annual growth rate of 42.9% between 2018 and 2026. The report looked at how VR is and will be used in K-12, higher education, and vocational training.
Both formal and informal education settings can utilize VR to improve learning models. Here are a few ideas.
1. Idea Generator
Virtual reality offers the ability to tap into artificial intelligence (AI) and create entire worlds. Imagine asking a student to come up with a new art concept but rather than putting pencil to paper, they strap on a VR headset and gloves and move into a whole new world where they can paint a building with a swipe of a finger.
It’s only a matter of time until tools such as Dall-E from Open AI integrate with other technology and help students come up with concepts faster than ever before. Instead of a project taking weeks to complete, students can flesh out ideas in a matter of hours.
2. Engaging Materials
One issue many K-12 educators face is keeping students engaged. Distractions like disruptive students can hinder learning. However, when teachers engage kids in the learning process and make it more interactive, they’re much less likely to act out.
However, coming up with the funds to add VR headsets to the classroom may seem impossible. One way to integrate VR into any classroom, even schools with small budgets, is to look into grants. Grants are one of the quickest solutions for educational organizations to obtain VR technology.
Many companies offer grants and will invest in the future of society by providing funding to kids. You could also reach out to local tech companies to see if they’d be willing to sponsor a few students by purchasing the initial equipment you need.
3. Improved Outcomes for Special Needs
VR also helps special needs students by giving them a safe, stress-free environment where they can learn various skills. For example, a student may struggle to learn how to tie their shoes in a noisy classroom. You can use VR to immerse them in a quieter space with step-by-step instructions they can move through at their own pace.
4. Medical and Therapy Improvements
You may have heard of medical students performing complex surgeries via VR. The technology is also utilized for improved therapy outcomes. The VR therapy market is growing at about 32% per year globally. Some VR therapy uses include helping people overcome addictions and improving physical therapy outcomes.
5. Mock Dissections
For decades, students have lamented having to slice open frogs and baby pig fetuses. It’s common for some to grow ill at the thought and others to simply refuse. What if students could explore the inner anatomy of anything imaginable without ever picking up a real scalpel?
After the initial outlay of funds, the costs of supplies would go down. VR allows students to explore the anatomy and compare two types of mammals without the cost of buying and the time to dissect two different species.
Bringing VR to the Masses
Once more people have VR equipment in their homes, schools will be able to reach them wherever they are. The days of e-learning taught most educators that while the process might not be perfect, students can learn from home.
Educators can also call upon the world’s top experts to step inside a virtual classroom and show students how to perform procedures, run a business, write the outline for a novel, or anything else you might imagine.
VR Expands the Possibilities
Where budgets and space might limit the people who can visit a school and the things students can learn, technology opens up more possibilities. Students in poorer districts or those with limited budgets will have access to the same information as those in budget-rich areas. Look for ways to begin integrating VR technology into the classroom so educators can jump on the advantages without delay.
April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine and editorial contributor at AR Insider. She specializes in VR/AR, IoT, and business technology. See her work here and follow her @rehackmagazine.