How Virtual Reality Can Close Learning Gaps in Your Classroom

2015-11-12 00:56:18


Virtual Reality (VR) may be the type of educational breakthrough that comes along once in a generation, heralding a tectonic shift toward immersive content for teaching and instruction.


You can take your students somewhere their school bus can’t with Google Expeditions and Discovery VR, master a foreign language, take a campus tour ( as well as learning resources using VR tech, including Unimersiv, Learn Immersive, Regis University, Design39Campus, or YouVisit).


By presenting a complete view of the world in which it is situated, VR offers a new opportunity to close some of the pedagogical gaps that have appeared in 21st century classroom learning. These gaps stem from the fact that curriculum and content in education have not caught up with rapid technology advancements. The three of these gaps are the Attention Gap, the Time-Effective Use Gap and the Pedagogy Gap. They might be addressed by virtual reality content soon to be produced and distributed commercially. Put aside, if you will, considerations of budget and adoption that accompanies any new technology entering the education world.


Extend the Attention Gap which Is Shorter Than that of A Goldfish
There are exceptions; many of us are able to engage for extended periods of time when gaming or using simulations. Research has shown that we remember 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and up to 90% of what we do or simulate. Virtual reality yields the latter scenario impeccably. SingularityHub's Alison Berman describes, for example, how VR might allow a student to simulate flying through the bloodstream while learning about different cells he encounters.


VR Classroom Provides Opportunity for Time-Effective Use Gap

The usage of virtual reality is already returning positive results on the athletic field. Photorealism, the attempt to reproduce an image as realistically as possible in another medium, has had such success that the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys are beginning to use it to train football players. Wearing a VR headset, a player sees practice film as the backdrop and experiences the reality of being on the field. More significantly (to some), photorealism might someday allow students to perform surgery in science class.


Improve Teaching from One-sided to Interaction
If you want to be fluent in German, you don’t learn Swedish. In a similar way, if you want students to learn information economy skills, you don’t teach them in text. You teach them in video and in immersive content they can “touch"—thus bridging the gap between what the world looks and acts like and what modern pedagogy actually teaches students to do. VR can be anything, except rote. It provides new discovery and method of organic exploration to encourage lifelong learning.

Actually Understand and Use VR Technology
I believe this is the future of virtual blended learning, a virtual environment that offers real-life application through photorealism.
Virtual Reality (VR) is everything that is not real. It allows you to experience a world that does not have a physical form.

Head Mounted Display (HMD) is the current form of hardware delivering VR experiences to users, and one of the most common VR terms you'll hear about today. An HMD is typically a pair of goggles or a helmet of some type, with which you're viewing the VR experience. With the advent of 2016, we’ll see commercial releases of VR headsets from Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Morpheus, Microsoft Hololens, in addition to those already available from Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.

Augmented Reality (AR) is the virtual world augmented with real life notions. A simple example would be using a gyroscope to play games on your Android phone. For more sophisticated applications in the marketplace, look to Boeing's experiments or the Marines who are using it for field training. Then there’s Microsoft Hololens, which will be one of the first commercial HMDs of its kind offering high-definition holograms seamlessly integrated into physical places. Note also that Magic Leap’s augmented reality development platform garnered $542 million in investments from Google and others last year.

Virtual Reality is arriving—but as with any new technology, it will take time to develop best practices.