Technology is a wonderful thing, who knew we might use Virtual Reality (VR) in education one day. Back in the days, we had books, notebooks, and our imagination to solve the problems. “Suppose you have four apples in your bag.” That statement always got me hungry and I indulged myself imagining four apples in my bag and how I am going to eat it. Wait Teacher had other plans and he wants me to give two of my imaginary apples to Suzie. Now I am left with two imaginary apples and dubious teacher is not done yet he wants to take rest for himself. At the end of it, I do not have any apple to eat. Men those were the days where teaching was done by real people and I listened to them very carefully while looking at the sky on my knees and my hand raised outside of the class. Apparently, you can’t ask money for imaginary apples. Then and now, we have seen the landscape of education change drastically. The online programs and solutions that are available for the students are making strides in the education sector. These programs might one day replace the traditional method of classroom teaching.
But those days are still far away and we will specifically discuss the new kid in the class in this article. That is VR and how it can be used to educate young minds. To go deep into the topic we must first learn what is VR? To do that we must break it into two parts, Virtual means being something in essence, though not in actual and Reality means something that has actual existence. The combination of both these words does not make any sense in the real world, but if we look at it from the technological point of view it might appear as do not physically exist but brought to life through software in the virtual world. It means the feeling, the touch and the experience might seem real but they are not.
The introduction of VR in education
I first came in touch with VR technology through video games and movies. Tell you what, it made my gameplay and entertainment experience much better. It feels like I am literally inside the game or movie fighting the bad guys. As the technology evolves the gaming and entertainment industry are providing much better user experience to its customers. But VR in education is a fairly new concept and how efficient it is going to be in the learning sector the future will only tell. But the data that been generated through research promises a good result, as 97 % of the students like to study from VR. VR in education estimated to be 700 million dollar industry by 2025 and education is going to be the fourth biggest sector for VR investment.
Positives of VR in education
For now, let get into matter how the implementation of VR in education might bring some positive changes.
Virtual Interaction real experience
First and foremost VR will provide the interaction with the environment which might be difficult or impossible in the real world. Let’s take the example of the subject of History. Through VR the students will able to visit ancient civilization interacts and gathers knowledge through experience which is very difficult to simulate in the real world.
Deeper learning Better understanding
VR can provide a better understanding of the subject. In books, we get the two-dimensional pictures with a lengthy explanation of the topic. The students can see three-dimensional objects through VR and learn their real origin and it is better because of 3D.
Fun with games
More than anything else kids love to play and they should be allowed to play. In schools, VR technology could help to change some subjects into role-playing games to make the students learn while playing and play while learning.
Safe and secure
VR will allow teachers to simulate situations such as war or natural disaster which might not be possible or too dangerous to conduct in a real setup. The students will study all prospects and in the process, they will not get in harm’s way.
Limitations of VR
The VR in Education might have some positive potential to offer but moving forward it is essential to look at its drawbacks before giving it a green signal.
Too expensive to handle
The equipment and the software that is needed to set up the infrastructure for basic VR training can cost a fortune and the school authorities around the world are not yet ready for that.
Limit the human connection
My fond memory about the school is not only about the punishment, but it also includes the nurture, the guidance and the companionship that I shared with my teachers and fellow students which made it a lot better in the end. And any kind of VR cannot replicate that.
Students with sight or listening disabilities or some kind of learning disability might not find VR useful. Some tweaks and tricks might help the students with learning imparity. Still, it might not be for all.
Hurdles to jump, opportunity to grab
The idea of VR in education is still in a conceptual and testing stage. The hurdles like customized user experience and all-around approval are a far bigger mountain to climb. The technology of VR is new and we should give it time to evolve into a complete product before education can accommodate it in its system. VR has a tremendous track record in entertainment and simulation industry. So do not discard it that easily it might surprise us in the near future as the technology is rapidly improving. We all want to go to that next stage and VR might be that stage which will elevate the level of education, till then we have to work with what we have.
Quote: “The good news is virtual reality is here. The bad news is something is still missing.”