It can be fun and scary to think about the future. There’s so much uncertainty, so much worry, but my sanity requires me to focus on the positive and the possibilities for the future, especially the future of education.
That’s why I’m excited to explore the idea of virtual reality (VR) in education. It’s not like I think we are all going to have VR headsets next year for our independent stations, but it’s pretty exciting to consider the possibilities as this technology becomes more mainstream (and therefore more affordable). It’s not a “right now,” but “soon.”
There are quite a few different makers of virtual reality headsets that just work with a cell phone now, ranging from cardboard to a sturdier plastic case. The most popular are:
- Oculus Rift - pricey but still cheaper than your iPhone!
In order to use this in the classroom, it has to connect to the curriculum and our original objective - to immerse students in the learning experience. From learning opportunities that simulate experiences, explore inaccessible locations, supplement course curriculum or travel to distant landmarks, there are some fantastic ideas for implementation. These ideas can be made possible in a number of ways:
- Google Cardboard apps
- New York Times VR films - teach current events, empathy and understanding
- Google Expeditions - explore a coral reef or visit Mars
- Nearpod VR - if you like Nearpod lessons, you will love their new branch of VR field trips to the Great Wall of China or an interview with Louis XIV of France
- The Body VR - only available with the pricey Oculus Rift
- Apollo 11 VR Experience - another AMAZING Oculus Rift product
So, why VR? Are there real benefits? According to research by Samsung, 85% of teachers agree that virtual reality would have a positive effect on their students, but only 2% are actually using it in their classrooms. These include helping students better understand the concepts, allowing for great collaboration in the classroom and increasing student motivation.
To get started, you need the gear. This is definitely a topic I’m interested in exploring over the next few years. If you’re interested too, get in touch and let’s work together!