Virtual Reality Matures in the K-12 Classroom
Are you a teacher who sees the words “virtual reality” and automatically thinks of robots and science fiction sagas? Well, virtual reality (VR) has increasingly become more accessible and common in the classroom. VR provides many benefits for students by enriching their learning.
Benefits Of Virtual Reality in the Classroom
There are many reasons why virtual reality is an important part of the 21st-century classroom. Virtual reality can be beneficial to all students because it develops a sense of empathy; for example, experiencing a historical site gives the students a better understanding of what life was like during certain events such as the Holocaust.
Additionally, virtual reality creates accessible learning activities for students of all socio-economic backgrounds. Virtual reality removes the cost of physically traveling to a specific spot that some students cannot afford.
VR can also help with language barriers. Virtual reality software has different language settings so that students who are not native English speakers can fully understand and benefit from these activities. This allows students to focus on what they are learning rather than trying to understand the language.
Virtual reality can also help with gamifying learning, especially in an eLearning setting where students cannot interact with each other and play games in-person. VR in eLearning can also provide students with virtual field trips that allow them to experience a new learning setting without leaving their home.
How to Implement Virtual Reality in Your Classroom
There are many ways that virtual reality can be used in the classroom. Online you can find many virtual reality apps and activities for a wide range of subjects. So regardless of what subject you teach, you can find virtual reality to help; among other things, you can explore the human body, visit geographical locations, and visit art museums. Virtual reality is beneficial to every subject area.
You might be sold on the benefits of virtual reality but might still have questions about how to implement it in your own classroom. Schools across the country have begun investing in virtual reality kits. These kits come in a set and can be passed from classroom to classroom. These kits include headsets that allow the students to become fully immersed in the virtual reality experience.
If your school does not have virtual reality kits, there are cheap and easy alternatives that you can use. Schools that cannot afford virtual reality headsets have taken to creating their own. You can make VR headsets out of cardboard; these headsets allow the students to place their smartphones in the cardboard enclosure and hold them to their eyes as if they are wearing a specially made VR headset. This cuts costs for schools but also allows students a more interactive experience.
Successful Implementation of Virtual Reality in the Classroom
Danvers Public Schools in Massachusetts are a perfect example of schools using virtual reality in new ways. They have been using VR to help their prospective students and students with disabilities by creating a virtual reality tour of their school buildings so that students can transition to their new environment easier. This school also helps students with disabilities to develop their life-skills. For example, they created a virtual reality walk around a downtown area; this helped the students get comfortable and practice this life skill before doing it in real life.
Virtual reality is ever-changing and improving the way that students learn. From programs that can be used on regular computers and smartphones, such as Google Expedition, to specialized equipment, teachers can implement virtual reality in their classrooms for improved learning experiences.