January 12, 2022

How virtual reality can be used in the classroom

In a world where technology affects every aspect of our lives, virtual reality is gaining traction in a wide variety of businesses. What was previously considered a rare luxury is now a widely available platform that offers immersive experiences to people of all ages.

We'll look at what makes VR education so beneficial, how it can increase student wellbeing, and how augmented reality can be used in the classroom. Additionally, we will discuss how VR can be used in various areas of education and training.

What is virtual reality?

Before we begin, let us analyse what this phrase actually means. Virtual reality, shortened VR, is a computer-generated simulation that distorts the user's perspective of reality and enables interaction with a three-dimensional environment. Although your surroundings do not exist physically when wearing a VR headset, the experience is so immersive that it seems very much like they do.

These false realities might be wholly abstract and comprised of implausible characteristics and surroundings, or they can be used to recreate an identical real-world experience, such as touring the Vatican or exploring your own neighbourhood via Google Earth. It's unsurprising that something so powerful can be such an effective teaching tool.

When we think of virtual reality, it's natural to envision something futuristic and technologically complex beyond our comprehension. However, it is now widely available throughout the world, with millions of individuals consuming it for recreational purposes on a regular basis.

How virtual reality can be used in the classroom

How does it work?

While we are aware that virtual reality is a wonderful tool, how does it work? Virtual reality headsets are normally comprised of a pair of thick goggles connected to a computer and equipped with a set of controllers that enable the user to perform actions.

Having said that, there are also advanced headsets that feature eye tracking without the use of controllers, as well as standalone consoles that do not require a connection to a computer. Additionally, there are less expensive headsets in the form of cardboard goggles that link to your phone.

Movement

The enchantment of virtual reality is based on the headset's capacity to track the user's head and eye movement and adjust the perspective accordingly. Additionally, headsets can measure your body movement, which enables you to walk within the simulated world.

This 3D tracking capability is not suitable for everyone, as motion sickness can be a side effect of operating these sophisticated pieces of equipment. Fortunately, the controllers may also be used to navigate the surroundings.

Vision

You may be wondering how these basic pairs of goggles are capable of drastically altering your environment. This is accomplished by the creation of a three-dimensional perspective. This works well because stereopsis, the capacity to visualise a three-dimensional shape using visual information from both eyes, is involved. Your right and left eyes see things somewhat differently, and these two perspectives combine to produce the same impact as how we perceive things in daily life.

Two distinct images, one for each eye, are presented on either side of the goggles, and these images are displayed at the ideal distance from your eyes to produce a sense of depth. Because we perceive photographs and smartphone displays as flat visuals, they will never have the same effect as a three-dimensional simulation.

Sound is another critical component of creating a truly immersive experience, which is why no VR headset is complete without the addition of headphones – which are frequently built-in to VR Headsets.

Education's future

Online and remote learning are gaining popularity in this digital age, and many individuals are beginning to see the benefits of an online learning platform. With such dramatic changes occurring, it's only natural that we leverage technology to maximise the possibilities of a learning environment.

Student mental health

Numerous schools, colleges, and institutions have been forced to close as a result of the current wave of lockdowns occurring throughout the world. The epidemic has compelled us to adapt and adjust our approach to education and learning, with blended learning becoming the norm. This form of learning is expected to last beyond the pandemic, as it provides pupils with a more flexible learning approach.

However, one of the most significant difficulties students have encountered is a lack of engagement with one another, and as we all know, being cooped up inside all day does not provide much excitement.

One of the most wonderful aspects of a virtual reality headset is the ability to communicate freely with others, as if they were physically present in the room with you. These chat rooms and social media platforms have the ability to mitigate the decline in social connection among classmates and peers.

These tools are excellent at simulating classrooms and playgrounds, and the sensation of being physically there among classmates is unmatched by video conferencing capabilities.

How virtual reality can be used in the classroom

Education through virtual reality

While virtual reality has the potential to transform education, it has not yet been widely adopted in traditional classrooms, most likely due to the high cost of the headsets. With education as a whole moving towards more online environments, virtual reality might be a game-changer in any lesson plan. Virtual reality education makes learning more enjoyable, safe, and engaging than ever before.

Virtual reality education enables students to interact with complicated subjects and settings in ways they would not be able to in the real world, which can benefit a wide variety of courses.

What disciplines can benefit from virtual reality?

Geography

Rather of learning about the world through textbooks and movies, VR enables pupils to travel anywhere in the world. Immersion in a culture on the opposite side of our world is enlightening and a far more pleasurable experience.

Have you ever considered travelling back in time to see how things used to be? You can accomplish just that using a virtual reality headset; there is content available that recreates historical places and scenarios, and even allows you to speak with historical characters!

Art

The days of travelling to and paying for admission to a prominent art gallery are over. With virtual reality, you can view some of the world's most stunning art galleries from any location. Along with the ability to visually visit art galleries, there are some wonderful virtual reality technologies that enable you to make virtual art and express your creativity.

Science

Virtual reality can be used to teach a variety of subjects, but biology and chemistry are excellent examples. There are instructional biology tools that allow you to get up close and personal with a variety of dangerous wild animals, as well as tools that allow you to investigate both human and animal anatomy. Students can also do chemistry experiments in a perfectly safe environment by utilising virtual reality.

These are not the only fields in which virtual reality might be beneficial; the possibilities are limitless! There are numerous resources that can be used in conjunction with lesson plans or for general study.

Final thought

We hope that this article has provided the value of virtual reality tools in a learning setting. Given the current state of the globe, it's safe to conclude that virtual reality will grow more prevalent in the education sector. It is undoubtedly something that students wish to see more.