In recent years Virtual Reality (VR) has been increasingly utilised in the education sector. VR is a computer-generated simulation, allowing the generation of an alternative 360° world. This allows students to experience the countries that they learn about in their textbooks right before their eyes from the comfort of their desks.
VR has become a popular source of multisensory technology and is used in many different industries. Over the last few years, VR accompanied by AR (augmented reality) has become a key player in the education of doctors and nurses through visualising the human anatomy to simulating patient/practitioner scenarios.
Due to VR systems becoming more accessible and affordable, teachers can create an immersive classroom environment for their students, immersing students via headsets or wall projections into the location of the topic through VR. An immersive classroom inspires learning and engages students on a sensory level that textbooks cannot portray. While also allowing locations to be explored by students that may not be able to visit these sites in real life. VR lesson plans have already been introduced to the curriculum in selected UK schools.
There are many benefits to VR for students:
Students learn better through experience
In contrast to reading and writing about a topic, VR provides students the opportunity to learn from experience.
Ability to inspire
The immersive experience of seeing and encountering extraordinary locations within the classroom is a unique and unparalleled experience in teaching. Immersive education provides an engaging and inspirational experience for students.
Promotes peer interaction
Throughout the VR experience students are encouraged to interact with each other. The excitement that an immersive classroom experience creates means students are eager to share their thoughts and discuss the experience.
Provides realistic travel experiences
Schools can save time and money whilst providing students with incredible travel experiences that would otherwise be impossible and impractical.
Inclusive classroom environment
Unlike traditional school trips that can be too expensive for parents or too impractical for children, VR allows all students to encounter the same enjoyable experience.
The implementation of VR into the classroom
There are two ways in which you can create an immersive classroom experience in your school - projection and headsets.
By projecting images and video onto the internal walls of the classroom students can be transported together into their virtual environment. With this method, students can enjoy the experience collectively and interact with each other. Projection eliminates any difficult or uncomfortable elements of the VR headset experience. This form of VR is most popular in primary schools, allowing younger students the opportunity to collaborate and interact with others.
VR Headsets are a great way to implement a virtual classroom environment which requires menial cost, equipment and space. For a class of 30 students, 15 headsets are typically required. These headsets are stand alone and do not require to be connected to external devices such as a computer. Due to the nature and setup required for a VR headset this style of immersion is most popular in secondary schools where students need less guidance from teachers. By utilising the headset in the classroom teachers are able to deliver an incredibly realistic and immersive learning experience.
Virtual reality can also be used to teach students with learning difficulties about the world around them in a controlled and safe environment. VR has been found very helpful for students with autism, a study in 2007 by Strickland et al. confirmed how the skills that children with autism learned through VR experiences can be applied to the real world.
Are you a principal looking to introduce immersive classrooms into your curriculum? Have you considered VR? Leveraging VR technology will allow your school and students learning experience to thrive and equipment leasing can help you do that, then the team at Grenke are here to support and guide you through that process.
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