Do We Need Virtual Reality In Education?

Do we need virtual reality in education? The future of human beings interaction is changing with the development of the technology and the evolution of the information technology innovations.   It goes without saying that we do not communicate in the same manner as we did 10 years ago, not to mention that the rapid growth in this sphere is hard to tackle if we go in the past decade of the last century when the mobile phones were hardly used.   The benefits of our age bring the virtual reality and the gadgets that we can use to have an insight into the possibilities the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment can bring us.   Since we can interact in a seemingly real or physical way using special electronic equipment, helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors, we can say that we have made a step towards the illusionary world in three dimensions.   The Google Trends statistic show interesting growth when looking for the term “virtual reality”. Namely, the growth from 2012 to 2016 is 96% higher and it promises a tendency of climbing. Below is the graph showing these data:   (Source:Google trends) In respect to an interest in regions, we see that the more developed the countries, the higher the interest of using the virtual reality. The top ranking countries are The Netherlands, United States, Philippines, Australia, United Kingdom, to followed by New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Denmark and Ireland.   Tools for using virtual reality interfaces are shown in the overview here: The concept of the implementation of the virtual reality may first come to the games playing, but believe me, this is not the only spot where we can see development and revolution in its utilisation. Virtual reality can be used in education if adjusted to its needs.   This can make the learning process even more interactive and interesting than we have in the flipped classroom. The teacher-student engagement will be on a different level if some of the curricula can be seen through the virtual reality tools. Learning will be more interesting a better anticipated by the learners, of all age. An army of developers will have to work on the VR curriculum, but it will be well worth it. It will bring new quality to educational and learning communities, making the gaining of new knowledge even more attractive and interesting. The business in this industry will also benefit, as new working places will be opened, with the need of accommodating the learning circles.   Having said this, maybe a couple of words about the top tools we use today, to benefit the virtual reality interfaces so that we see how they can make education more accessible to wider students.   Oculus It is the new immersive medium, which creates the sensation of being entirely transported into a virtual (or real, but digitally reproduced) three-dimensional world. It can provide more visceral experience than screen-based media. Being nicely designed, it offers a seamless experience.   At this moment it is expensive to consider it to use it at educational institutions, as the price ranges from 789 USD without a PC, up to 15,000 USD with it. So, currently, it is good for home playing games, but still not too affordable for educational purposes.   Video Daydream is more affordable and it uses a smartphone for the virtual reality interface entrance. You can get it from 49.99 USD up to 79.00 USD.   Google Cardboard brings immersive experiences to everyone in even a simple and affordable way. You can fold your own or buy a cardboard, and use it with a smartphone.   From the above said, it is apparent that educational development curriculum can have a better future in the Google Cardboard option, due to the simplicity of its using, as we know that children have smartphones, as early as beginning going to school. The experience is almost the same as using the Daydream, which has a band around the head.   What does the future hold for learning communities?   It will definitely be versatile, more interactive and better visualised. I hope that the robustness of the cardboard will be overcome with the next developments, and we will have proper glasses and maybe even lenses that we can use for the same purpose as the VR tools we have today. This will make the overall interface interaction more user-friendly and less robust, as we will not have to hold it in our hands or have immense “swimming mask” when not in the water.   The possibilities will grow as the technology develops and we can perfectly blend into the environments that we want to explore and learn about. Moderation is the right measure to use the virtual reality since too much or everything we use from modern technologies can harm our health. With all these facts into consideration, it can be said that virtual reality will fit comfortably in the next generation of learners, bringing the new innovative method of gaining knowledge.   Author: Aleksandra Arsik