Will Virtual Reality Inspire Innovation in the Classroom?

Virtual reality is growing in popularity with the gamer community, especially with the launch of the Playstation VR earlier this year. Kids are using it on their phones to watch 3D videos. With such popularity among young people, it is no wonder teachers are starting to look to virtual reality to improve learning and engagement in their classrooms.

According to Unimersiv, virtual reality education will provide students with better memories, faster learning and a more immersive experience of history.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways teachers are using virtual reality to teach our children.

School field trips in virtual reality

Teachers no longer have to rely on books or videos to introduce new places to students that are beyond where they could normally travel for a hands-on field trip. With virtual reality, students can travel across the globe. They can now visit the Seven Wonders of the World, the Louvre in Paris, or even to the International Space Station. During their virtual travels, they learn about new cultures, and interact with priceless treasures.

Virtual History Lessons

History is a very important portion of education, but for many students, it can be very boring. Think of how exciting it would be for students to explore the Titanic before and after she sank or wander around Pompeii before and after the volcano explodes. This technology will bring history alive for students, and make it much more interesting to them.

Virtual Science Lab

Science is a very hands-on and visual topic to learn. The best textbooks have full-color illustrations to help students learn. But, imagine interacting with science subjects through the ultimate in visual aids: virtual reality. Anatomy and physiology is just one science class that can be beneficially impacted by the use of virtual reality. With virtual reality, students can slowly examine the structures of a body without having to dissect it. Not everyone is up for this portion of science class.

VR Software Companies Are Leading the Way

The opportunity to educate kids in the virtual classroom wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of a few companies. They are leading the charge for adoption of virtual reality in the classroom by creating exciting and educational virtual content.

Google Expeditions

Google has partnered with hundreds of providers to make educational content available to students through their Google Expeditions project. Teachers can purchase a kit through Best Buy that gives between 10, 20 and 30 students access. The providers have some incredible content available, and it makes me wish I was back in school.

With Google, you can check out the hall of dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, a dive of the Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough, or tour the Guggenheim Museum.

Eon Reality VR

Eon Reality has a VR platform available for iOS and Android. You can simply download to your phone, slap it in a Google Cardboard, and you can experience any of the VR content they have. And let me tell you, they’ve got some cool stuff!

They offer experiences as wide ranging as city planning, engine exploration and maintenance, and medical training for eye doctors. They even teach Major League baseball players how to hit other pitchers in the league.

Nearpod

In February of 2016, two different school districts in California started using Nearpod’s virtual reality software for their classes. Nearpod gives teachers access to a large database of content that they can then create lesson plans around. The teachers can also synchronize their custom lesson plans to the student devices. The breadth of content runs the gamut of math, social studies, science, and English language arts.

Teachers can buy individual pieces of content for their lessons, or they can use it as part of a personal to district wide plan.

Unimersiv

With only five subjects available, Unimersiv does not have a catalog as large as Nearpod. They make up for that with the programs they do have. You can choose explore the International Space Station. Dive deep in human anatomy. Explore Stonehenge, the Titanic, and the Acropolis of Athens.

Unimersiv is available on Samsung Gear VR and Oculus and you pay per device download.

Wrapping it up

Many people are focused on the fact that all too often the school agenda seems to be on teaching for the multitude of state tests that are mandatory, but one of the things that schools are intended to do for their students is to inspire them to reach for the stars.

The beautiful thing about virtual reality is that it can help in this mission. Teachers can inspire students by showing them the world. They can help them explore the cosmos and the seas with the help of amazing technology. Imagine what today’s youth will create because of the inspiration that VR will inject in their lives.

Author: Becky DeForest

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