Virtual Reality (VR) is no more a futuristic technology. It has arrived. And it’s here to stay.
It’s disrupting many industries and the education sector is going to be one of the greatest beneficiaries of this amazing technology. The education sector has always had supply-side issues like lack of qualified teachers, poor student-teacher ratio, lack of penetration of secondary education in remote villages, lack of coaching institutes for competitive exams and many more. VR in schools can be a one-stop solution to all these problems. Let’s take a look at some benefits of Virtual Reality in education sector.
What is VR?
Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. VR is currently being used as a tool in entertainment (particularly video games), education (such as medical or military training) and business (such as virtual meetings). This is the next phase of the internet and companies like Facebbok are pivoting to a new business model that leverages the interconnectedness of the world we live in and transform our lives.
Application of Virtual Reality in Education
One may wonder how wearing a thick pair of goggles will transform the teaching and learning experience. The answer lies in the accessibility of education.
VR can make education accessible
Currently, only less than half of India’s children between the age 6 and 14 go to school. And only a little over one-third of all children who enroll in grade one reach grade eight. These numbers are mind boggling. The recent ed-tech apps cater only to the ultra-rich. Use of virtual reality in education, if applied right, can make education available to one and all, at much lesser costs.
VR enhances the learning experience
Education was traditionally equated with teaching. With emerging technologies like VR, there’s an increased focus on the experience of learning. Rote learning is a thing of the past. There are studies that say that kids remember lessons taught via VR better than the rest. VR can bring the best teacher in the world right into your living room to teach your kid. If your child is dyslexic, VR can help your child get special attention in learning to read and right, at his or her own pace. To put it in a nutshell, VR will ensure that no kid is an Ekalavya.
How is VR changing education?
We’ve seen tech disrupt retail, food-delivery, pharma, finance etc. But, as parents, have you wondered what VR in education can do?
VR will make parents’ life much easier
If you’re a working parent who finds it taxing to get your kid ready to go to school every morning with packed tiffin and bottled water, you could start thinking of homeschooling with VR, wherein the kid gets state-of-the-art learning experience, at the comfort of sitting at home. You won’t have to worry about attending PTA meetings in person, nor about missing important updates on your ward’s progress. You could sneak into any class and see how well the teacher is teaching or even keep an eye on your kid, to know if he or she is indeed listening attentively or having fun with classmates.
VR tools will transform the learning experience
VR is already making a huge impact on student wellbeing, with tools such as VRroom from ClassVR, which provides a virtual collaborative space for students to engage with one another. It allows a teacher to monitor a class of up to thirty students at once across a range of exciting and educational virtual environments. Tools like Google Expeditions and Nearpod allow students and educators to take immersive virtual journeys by having the ability to allow a teacher to guide or students as explorers. Another firm called Veactive, that has freemium services, has developed 3D, virtual, augmented and mixed reality educational technologies and content to enhance learning experiences in K-12 and higher education. Thus, VR in schools is bound to make us reimagine the future of teaching and learning.
One of the most incredible features of a VR headset is this ability to talk freely with others as though they were in the room with you. These chat rooms and social platforms could potentially make the VR learning experience much more enjoyable and fun.
What makes VR in education beneficial?
VR can make private tuitions and coaching centers irrelevant. Middlemen like these raise the cost of education significantly. This is one of the best benefits of virtual reality in education. Knowledge, when delivered D2C, will incur much lesser costs than the current system.
VR will make high-quality schooling cheaper
If your child needs to prepare for an entrance exam and there’s no good coaching institute near your house, you don’t have to worry anymore or relocate your kid to the nearest town. VR enabled entrance coaching will enable your child to prepare for any exam right at home. Moreover, VR will make the exam itself redundant in the long run. If you couldn’t crack the JEE, but still want to avail the world-class faculty of the IIT or even the MIT, VR could come to your rescue. The future belongs to open courseware and digital universities. One could avail courses from world-class universities, earn the required credits and obtain a degree in any subject.
VR will make schooling enjoyable
Imagine how much the kids would enjoy a Geography class if the teacher could take the entire class on a virtual picnic to show the places and explain their significance. A History teacher, on the other hand, could take her class back in time to the days of pre-independent India, to make the students experience the freedom struggle like a 3D movie.
Currently, when the school bell rings at 4 PM, we see kids running out of the school, hailing the freedom to get back to their homes. VR will usher in such an era, in which kids would love the school and would voluntarily be present in their class before the morning bell rings at 9.