In a new study by Cornell University, scientists explored whether the compelling, immersive nature of virtual reality (VR) provides a better learning outcome than conventional hands-on activities. The study provides better intellect how the novelty of technology affects how people use it.
The United States Department of Education is betting on virtual reality to help students with high-functioning autism and learning disabilities in schools across the country. This month the Office of Special Education and Programs announced its investment of $2.5 million toward a new program that will use VR to nurture social skills in students with disabilities - an extension on earlier funding for versions of the program designed for desktop and tablets in 2011.
Picture this: You’re walking through an organic chemistry lab on NC State’s campus. You put on your safety goggles and follow the professor over to a whiteboard, checking out the equipment around you along the way. A pretty standard student experience, right? It would be, except for the fact that you’re actually sitting at your kitchen table in front of your laptop.
Can being in the middle of an opera take your mind off pain? Here at the University of Maryland, scientists are studying the therapeutic value of experiencing a virtual-reality recording of Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites.” The hope is that, at least in some situations, the distraction of an immersive virtual experience can provide pain relief without having to turn to opioids.
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.