VR Effects on Education

Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to revolutionize industries like healthcare and entertainment, but a little known disruptive possibility for VR is in the education industry. VR is the type of technology that allows for a unique experience that can only be rivaled, if at all, by the same experience in the physical world. The advantage that VR has over the physical world itself is that it can let people experience things that are impossible to see in the physical world, or things that are imaginary in the first place. VR has the ability to allow students to observe things in a more inclusive environment, or to even interact with their surroundings – such as a VR flight simulator or surgical simulation training using VR. The possibilities for VR in education are endless.

One VR education experiment in particular called the “World of Comenius” is using VR technology to give kids learning experiences that they could not get before, like moving around a cell or meeting people from history and understanding the environment of others. “World of Comenius” is an educational software that aims to utilize the VR to show people things that weren’t possible before.” Similar programs to this one exist like Google Expeditions, which has aimed to provide educational experiences for all kids by providing teachers with cheap means to lessons that allow students experiences that are outside the limits of the physical world. Google says that their Expeditions program is accessible to everyone; “all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices and choose which one of the over 200 Expeditions they want to take their class on.” The only other materials needed are the smartphones and the smartphone headsets that students will use.

One of the leading developers of VR education is Unimersiv. Taking Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Learning” to heart, they claim that people retain 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, but 90% of what they do or simulate.

Cone of Learning

It logically follows that VR is an incredibly effective learning tool that will enhance the speed of learning. Better yet, it is free. While it still has yet to develop into a full-fledged educational system, Universiv marks the expansion of VR into education. Who knows, if outfitted with a sophisticated system of performance measurements and copious amount of content, perhaps we will eventually be able to obtain college-level degrees through VR. The company that provided it would simply be selling a copy of the software – no campus, no buildings, no parking lots, no school supplies. Combine this service with a platform such as Slack with a teacher and other students, and we now have ourselves a pretty good gig going. Imagine how many doors would open up with this kind of affordable and highly effective learning. The question remains, then, whether or not colleges will be able to adapt to this disruptive technology before students open their eyes and realize they are wasting their money and time.

One issue with using VR to advance and disrupt education is the digital divide. Between the educated and uneducated there are many factors that come to play when it comes the digital divide and the continuous technological advances surrounding society. The ability to use the Internet, to obtain news, and to be involved economically tend to be the top tier points of the educational system we are involved with today. The cost and affordability of information and communication with technology deters citizens away from education and technology as not only a pairing but as a whole. This unfortunate situation creates a deeper hole in hardships rather than focusing on the expansion of technology and its advantages for the everyday person – no matter how big or small the enjoyment that comes along from using the advances to our advantage. Only 40 percent of people have the ability to own and use a computer. This statistic appalls me to no end. I believe we all should be more grateful to our lives and privileges given to us. I totally agree that new technology could provide society easier devices to use such as computers and mobile communication. But I also feel that many people across the world do not necessarily have access to the Internet. Since they do not have the personal means to purchase these devices, they find other means to access the news with word of mouth, newspaper, television, etc. There are other options out there for most to obtain this information, but for some, the goal of holding the news freely in their hands is simply unattainable. How this affects virtual and augmented reality is far from simple. Education in the classrooms allow students to explore outside the classroom while being in a physical one across the world.

Students are provided devices to allow them to “travel” all over the world to showcase history, technology, advancements, and so on. This allows the students to finally step outside the box of the linear path of thinking. They have never been taught to do something much more beneficial for themselves in the future because of this restricted thinking. Classrooms around the world have already started to prepare for this next phase in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With these generations continuing to live in a technology based world, the baby steps of this process are to allow technology to be used and create a resourceful tool for these classrooms at all times. Classrooms around this city, country, and even the world are finally implementing the use of iPads, tablets, and video cameras that have many programs and resources for the students to learn from. These lessons that they will learn will change their lives dramatically, just like this Disruption, Technology, & Law course is doing for the majority of us. The goal is to teach these students these methods at an early age to ensure their path to success is continued throughout their entire lives without giving up on learning and falling behind like the older generations will eventually have to do. Virtual Reality is the next step in this direction, and it is important that we give our students the best opportunity possible to reach their fullest potential.

The world is slowly opening doors to the less fortunate by providing them computers. Children finally have a lost cost, rugged, low- power, connected laptop for them to finally own. This gives children an outlet to obtain a great education on their terms to truly learn, share, and create greatness together.

Scientists predict that by 2018 the number of mobile phones will equal the world population. These are facts that should awaken Governments all over the world. It also should awake the awaiting citizens who are looking for their great big break. This statistic means so much more than an arrangement of numbers, it leads to our futures becoming great again. People need to come together to power through the issues that keep us divided. As students in America who are blessed with much, being grateful for what we have is a great way to start contributing to this effort. When we are grateful, it becomes easier to help those who are in need.

The Knight Foundation has tried to find ways to bridge the digital divide in Detroit, where less than 40 percent of households have broadband access. They approached the challenge of the digital divide by focusing on three high poverty neighborhoods, and set out to fund a broadband network there in addition to digital literacy training. Partnerships were arranged between local community organizations, private companies, libraries and government by the project to fulfill its goals. The program’s achievements included a federal stimulus grant that brought in additional funding, and the donated, refurbished laptops. Through partnerships with the University of Minnesota’s Digital Divide Initiative and the Geek Squad, several hundred families have received refurbished computers for their home use and on-going instruction on how to safely use and maintain them.

In conclusion, VR is projected to have an immense impact on education, spearheaded through apps such as Google Expeditions and Unimersiv. These kinds of innovations will drive down costs and increase learning retention. But nobody said this would be a walk in the park; disruption is always messy. Colleges and other educational institutions are slow to change, and the digital divide remains a pressing issue at hand. In any case, VR will disrupt education and learning, and we should prepare ourselves for it.

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

, , ,

3 Responses to VR Effects on Education

  1. kaitlyn healy December 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    The article,” VR Effects on Education” by Dan Folta covered a lot of information. The article explains how Virtual Reality will change education in the future and change the world and how we learn as a society. The article stated that we as humans learn differently, most of us retain ten percent of what we read, twenty percent of what we hear, thirty percent of what we see and about ninety percent of what we actually do or simulate. That being said there really is a place in our world for virtual reality. The amazing part of adding virtual reality with education in young students will give them a chance to learn in a new and exciting way, just the idea of using something so non traditional excites students to learn. My senior year in high school I had the opportunity to work on Khan Academy, which is a computer system that is taught online and really broke down the difficult math that I was not understanding in class. This wasn’t virtual reality but it was something that I could see and be part of on a one to one basis and most importantly at my pace. I learned that I had more questions than I did in class because I was never the kind of person who wanted to slow the class down if I had a question. Think of the possibilities with virtual reality and how a subject such as history or science could be affected. You could bring the students back in time and see and integrate with what it was like in past centuries. In science the idea of seeing a brain and touching organs is amazing and an easy way to explain how things work. As the students get older it also can be a big part of a curriculum. Students who never will have the opportunity to travel the world will now be able to see things like the pyramids, the Vatican, The Eiffel Tower. Even in graduate students for medical students it is a great opportunity for student to do procedures without having to use patients as experiments.

    The part of the article that did disturb me wa the part of how college could become taken over by this type of education. College is not just about studies it is a time in your life where you open up your mind to different possibilities and you experience life as an adult on your own. Professors don’t call your parents if you fail or not show up to class. You have to learn to fend for yourself and it makes you more social and molds the person that you are to become. To think that we would make better students if we kept them home on a computer and learned through a reality that isn’t even real could create a society of unsocial adults who can’t handle a job interview.
    I am a firm believer that education and technology will only help us as students and maybe as learners we have to open up our minds but I also think that it is important to keep teachers and not depend on computers. Students need communication and skills and accountability.
    Finally the government will be paying a lot of money for this type of technology, although Google says it is free, nothing is free. Many people need computers and smart phones and the equipment that goes along with VR. This is a great idea but as with everything the price tag is the pushing factor.

  2. Gregory Medina December 9, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

    Virtual reality incorporated into education is a necessary step needed in society. Education needs to modernize, for example, the basic form of education has not changed since its standard were established in the 1800’s. Though new forms of technology are structured into the modern education, it is still based on a one style fits all, or most, form of teaching where the instructor instructs and the students listen. Understood today, people know that they learn differently. Some can understand from instruction alone while others need to be taught with a more tactile or material matter. Moreover, people also learn at different rates at different times for, fundamentally, different things. However, the current educational system still keeps to the one style fits all aspect for the majority of students. Fundamentally, the education system needs a new medium in order to educate, a new structure essentiality, virtual reality can be the key to such.

    Today, virtual reality is already being used in the essence of education. For example, law enforcement training now involves the use of virtual reality for its officers, especially in the form of defining situations in order to decide the best course of action. Such a tool is most notably used in flight training, such as the flight simulator. Pilots are put in a machine that is a complete replica of a commercial airplane to learn the controls as well as simulate flights. Such a technology would not be surprising if it were to be incorporated to teaching students drivers to drive on the road, which it should if it is not. Thus, I would not be surprised if virtual reality were used as a tactile form of education as a new medium, which again it should be used form. Tactile learners would experience less difficulty in their studies due to virtual reality. Moreover, students would also benefit from the “hands on” approach that it provides. For example, if an instructor wishes to show an example about the properties of physics, virtual reality could be used to explain such propertied such as black holes, the effects of gravity on objects, and the like. Moreover, the education of art can also be conducted through virtual reality. For instance, people studying architecture could virtually walk into the buildings that their instructors are educating them on. Moreover, the process and explanation of structure, as well as failed structures, could also be examined through virtual reality. Overall, virtual reality in the education would be an extreme benefit.

    As technology continues to progress, the incorporation of virtual reality in education is likely to occur in the near future. It is a necessary step if one were to advance the current educational system. Moreover, it would allow subjects to be more tactile allowing students to understand them at a “physical” level. Nevertheless, virtual reality in education is a thing that needs to happen now.

  3. Thomas Batelli February 16, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    After reading this article on virtual reality and education, it is obvious that the potential for a better education system using new technology may be just around the corner. Virtual reality has been a recent product on the market, which allows users to experience simulation, which feel comparable to real life. There are plenty of opportunities that can be grasped from this concept. The article specifically mentioned surgical simulations as well as flight simulators, but the possibilities are truly endless. With the help of virtual reality, educators can provide students with not only education, but basically experiences.

    When discussing the “World of Comenius”, I was impressed with how educators were utilizing the educational software to allow children to learn through a different dimension- literally. I was also extremely impressed with the compatibility of the actual software; being that it is easily downloadable and accessible to all educators whom have access to a computer system. The article also mentions that studies have considered that“…people retain 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, but 90% of what they do and simulate”. This doesn’t surprise me, as I am personally not an auditory learner and would much rather work hands on as well as independent study. Having a system, which is able to reach students on a variety of educational levels, is extremely important, especially in our current education system. Standardized tests and curriculums are usually used to determine a child’s success and abilities, however, these test do not always address all areas of capabilities of children.

    Virtual reality is claimed to enhance the speed of learning along with providing students opportunities to see and “experience “ things without having to travel. Expedition simulators allow students to travel all over the world, even in different eras. Stepping outside the average box adds an element of creativity and possibility to the perspectives of young children. Virtual reality not only provides children with a grander perspective, but a greater worldview. Educating students on different scenarios, perspectives, cultures and races allows them to understand life from someone else’s perspective, allowing more room for a better understanding and empathy. Regularly implementing lessons of diversity and differences allow children to judge less, because they understand more.

    Although the concept of using virtual reality worldwide sounds likes an obvious solution, unfortunately, not everyone has access to the tools needed. Virtual reality must be utilized through a computer system, so any device intended for use must be linked to the Internet. With that being said, many parts of the world do not have the access to this kind of technology yet. Even students living in such a privileged country of our own do not have access to computers. Making the extra effort to provide students everywhere with appropriate technology will reach more children than ever thought possible, as well as stimulate the educational standard. All in all, at the end of the day, “when we are grateful, it becomes easier to help those who are in need,”

Leave a Reply