Virtual and Augmented Reality are Revolutionizing the Education System
Technology has changed the way we live our lives and its impact on the education system is no different. While some aspects of education look the same year after year, technology has put massive amount of information at our fingertips. Technology has given students a new way to learn including augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality uses the student’s existing environment and overlays new digital information providing more freedom and opportunities to learn. Virtual reality creates an immersive artificial environment which blocks out everything around you. Although these products can be expensive for schools to purchase, virtual and augmented reality can change the way students learn.
Virtual and augmented reality has several benefits for students. A virtual reality tool such as Google Cardboard allows teachers to take their students to places they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise such as the Great Barrier Reef, Machu Picchu or the Great Wall of China. These virtual tours can help teachers emphasis certain parts of their curriculum and hold the attention of students. This can be particularly beneficial for students who have attention deficit disorder or learning disabilities. The students will be more engaged and less likely to disrupt their classmates.
Augmented reality tools are being used to help supplement teachings by showing students 3D models or videos. These supplements can keep students interested in the subjects and motivated to participate in lessons. An interactive lesson can also help students connect to the information and be able to remember it later. For example, biology students are learning about the human heart and they use an app to show a 3D model. The model can be rotated and flipped, so that students have a hands-on experience to learn to the parts of the heart and how it works. This engagement will help students remember terms and procedures on future tests. Teachers are also considering using virtual reality to help students prepare for interviews by simulating the interview process to help near graduates develop the confidence to ace future interviews and land a quality job.
Google’s Expedition program is trying to level the playing field for students and break down social barriers. Google is planning to start offering virtual reality tours of colleges, as well as experiences showcasing a day-in-the-life of different professions to learn about options for the future. This provides opportunities for students who are unable to travel due to economic hardships or physical limitations. Google also wants to dive into complicated social and environmental issues that are hard for school-age kids to grasp without visual and hands on experiences. This can be a very powerful empathy tool in allowing students step into others shoes. For instance, Google is working with the UK’s Department for International Development to build an experience about the eradication of Ebola. This is not something students could experience without virtual reality.
Virtual and augmented reality have a variety of classroom applications including helping students with homework, word definitions and book reviews. Teachers can insert a code onto homework pages that when scanned by a smart device shows a video solving an example problem. For book reviews, students can record themselves talking about the novel then attach the code for others to scan and access the review. Augment reality can enhance a student’s yearbook by adding videos of sporting event, concerts and graduations. Science classrooms can put images that activate media around the room to help students learn the safety procedures and protocols in the lab.
Despite concerns that Common Core would hinder creative teaching, teachers across the nation can use augmented and virtual reality to develop unique methods of instruction while still accommodating standards. For example, teachers can help students learn conceptual knowledge by using augmented reality to apply it to a real-world experience. In math, teachers can create puzzles to help students understand concepts instead of just providing lists of formulas. Students can understand broad topics when the content is broken down into smaller pieces with the help of virtual reality experiences. Teachers can also help students create videos and podcasts to learn about a variety of subjects and then use augmented reality apps to let others watch their work. Students can learn from each other’s work and continue to learn about new technology as well.
As augmented and virtual reality become more accessible and affordable to school districts, teachers can incorporate these innovations into their curriculum. Students will be more engaged and have a deeper understanding of concepts with hands on experience. This technology has the ability to shape the education system with new learning tools.
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