Virtual Reality in Schools

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Virtual Reality in the Classroom: How it Benefits you and Your Students 

What is VR?

VR stands for Virtual Reality which is a simulation created by a computer, which provides a three-dimensional generated simulation that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person utilizing the equipment, such as a helmet or goggles. This technology allows the user to explore a physical space, without leaving the comfort of the classroom.

There are also additional programs that are similar to Virtual Reality that can be utilized in a similar way. Augmented Reality a technology that creates a computer-generated image within the view of the real world in real time, thus creating a view through a smartphone or other Virtual Reality technological device. In addition, there is also Mixed Reality which is a hybridization of real and virtual worlds to create effects and views of new environments and visualizations that interact with one another. Digital and physical objects co-exist and interact in real time through a smartphone or other Virtual Reality device. Within the next upcoming years, the utilization of VR in the classroom and in general across American society is expected to double.

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How can it be used in a classroom?

As the world becomes more accustomed to technology like VR, more and more museums, institutions, and historical sites have developed their own VR programs that allow for students to get the experience of visiting these important locations, without having to organize a field trip. Places like the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. have been developing their VR technology and many more are following in their footsteps.

Pros & cons of VR in the classroom

Pros:

1. Provides in depth visuals for topics.

This is helpful because many students identify with visual learning and virtual reality provides the opportunity to have visual aides alongside content.   

2. Creates interest beyond classroom walls for students.

Students are able to be transported to destinations that they may never get the chance to go to otherwise. This creates the sense that students are not in the classroom and provides a break from the normal class structure.

3. Increases student engagement.

Virtual reality encourages students to get up and move around. Students cheer each other on and learn from each other when experiencing virtual reality simulations.

Cons:

1. Disrupt academic schedule with technology issues.

As with any technology, there is always the possibility that the technology will not work and could severely delay the class activity or force the teacher to use a backup activity.

2. Expensive.

Some virtual reality goggles are very expensive and not all classrooms are able to afford the high end products. The silver lining is that there are virtual reality sets that are becoming less and less expensive.  

3. Only learn what is in the pre-recorded VR simulation.

This could limit the perspectives the students are shown. Teachers and students must be careful to check the bias of the virtual reality production.

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VR equipment can be expensive, and we know it is not in the budget for every school. Luckily, many companies like Microsoft and Samsung are developing their own VR technologies that can be compatible with students phones. One of the ways that VR can be obtained by schools is through the use of grants. Applying for various grants on both the school and individual teacher level would allow for districts and classrooms to gain funds that could be put towards VR. As mentioned above the cost of VR is expected to lower, as the availability of this technology increases within the upcoming years.

However, there are many different types of VR headsets that can be utilized, and a list of them highest to lowest is as follows:

  1. HTC Vive. $499
  2. PlayStation VR. $254.
  3. Oculus Rift.$249
  4. Samsung Gear VR. $129
  5. Google Daydream View $99
  6. Google Cardboard $15

What are the statistics of using Virtual Reality in the classroom?

 

Many classrooms and teachers have the possibility and the capacity to use VR in their classroom, however, it is still a fairly new technology so many districts and teachers haven’t actually implemented their technology. However, many classroom teachers and students alike feel they would benefit from the use of VR.

 

 

A Video on Utilizing VR in the Classroom

Below is a video that shows VR being utilized in a Canadian school system. The video specifically shows it being utilized in a math classroom, but VR technology can be utilized in all content areas.

VR in Education

Class VR: A Company who Creates VR for the Classroom

Class VR provides training for the utilization of VR and the technology they have created with classroom guides and already established product for inside the classroom. They offer Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality media across curricula which makes their services especially worthwhile to all content teachers. With this technology, teachers can direct students to a particular point in the content that they want students to focus on, as well as access what the students are seeing via the teacher portal. This technology is also gesture friendly, so it is beneficial for all students who choose to utilize it, as it can be adapted to student need.

This would be a typical headset provided by the ClassVR classroom set.

 

ClassVR also provides Sample Lesson Plans for a brief view, as well as official lesson plans when you purchase their product.

 

Sample Lesson Plans for Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Lesson - Science

Augmented Reality Lesson - Science 

Virtual Reality Lesson - English/Language Arts

 

Page completed by Stephanie Ryan, Hannah Gruelich, and Annika Lee for Dr. Douglas Brooks’ Capstone Class, Fall 2018