Immersive technologies such as virtual reality and 3D scanning are becoming so hot that educators across the country are beginning to roll them out for students of all ages. The problem is that, while technologies blending elements of the physical and digital worlds in simulated environments offer enormous academic value, too many institutions fall prey to what I call the “buy it and forget it” approach.
Virtual and augmented reality technologies make it possible for students to learn about complex phenomena, like angular momentum or even electromagnetic waves, through partially or fully immersive experiences. Arizona State University’s Mina C. Johnson-Glenberg, a research professor in the Department of Psychology, is working to bring virtual reality (VR) into K-12 classrooms to promote STEM education.
As the price of virtual and augmented reality headsets continues to fall, the number of educational users will jump significantly, up to an estimated 15 million by 2025, according to a report from Goldman Sachs. VR applications, in particular, are expected to grow quickly in higher education.
On any given day, students nationwide are deep-sea diving, observing medical operations, even swimming through the human circulatory system using gadgets that are becoming increasingly accessible in both cost and content. At the least, teachers say, it's another way to engage the iPhone generation of students. At best, it can enhance their understanding and improve their grades.
More than 15 percent of U.S. schools are forecast to have a VR class kit by 2021, and globally more than 70 million K-12 students are expected to have a VR experience in school in that year, Davis said. China’s K-12 market is also expected to see significant VR adoption in the mid- to long-term, he said.
Educators and their students can now be part of a beta program to create their own Google Expeditions virtual reality experiences. The opportunity was unveiled this week at Bett, the world’s largest educational technology show here. Classes enrolled in what Google calls its “pioneer program” will be able to create their own immersive virtual experiences with a 360-degree camera and the Google app.
Virtual reality plays a significant role in the education field or sector. It makes it easier for students to comprehend what they are being taught and also allows them to live the reality. Virtual reality opens up many opportunities in the educational system.
Virtual reality has made its way into Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library. The technology, which aims to give students a more hands-on and visual learning experience, is expected by some at the university to be heavily used by many learning institutions in the near future.
VR and AR seem to exemplify this shiny, new technology-driven world we’re living in. If it can be used to expand pedagogical efficacy in schools, why not give a headset to every student? Of course, we must first consider the total impact of such a widespread application. So, what are the true pros and cons of VR and AR as teaching tools?