By Shannon Flynn
(Street Boro City Schools students in a class using VR)
While virtual reality (VR) is still a developing technology, many industries worldwide are looking into the potential benefits of using it in their operations. From manufacturing to retail, VR can be a transformative piece of tech that intertwines digital and physical realities.
Another sector investigating the advantages of VR is education. For most people, the concept of VR is complex and futuristic. However, it’s rapidly evolving, and it will likely be commonplace in daily life. Statista reports that the VR market size will increase to more than $12 billion by 2024.
Below is more information about VR, the benefits of using VR in a technical classroom, and details regarding VR Expeditions 2.0.
Basic Overview of VR
VR is a term used to describe technologies that enable interactions with virtual or digital worlds. It relies on the use of standard VR headsets — some of the most popular VR headsets suppliers are Oculus, Sony, Valve, and HTC, to name a few.
Other emerging technologies include mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR). What makes VR unique is that the better the sensors, hardware, and headsets are, the better experience it is for the user. VR has transformed from a clunky tool that requires a constant computer connection to a standalone solution that can make for a more lightweight experience.
When users are immersed in a VR experience, their movements are recognized by the computer software within the hardware. Head tilts, hand movements, and any interaction with the technology are detected.
Generally speaking, more schools are adopting digital technologies, such as online tutoring resources — students can become more proficient in challenging subjects when they receive one-on-one online instruction. But how can VR benefit educators and their students?
Benefits of VR in a Technical Classroom
In general, the benefits of VR in technical education typically outweigh the drawbacks. Below are some examples of four benefits educators and students reap when using VR in a technical classroom.
When students wear a VR headset, they’re able to encounter high-quality, enhanced visualizations to help them learn and retain information about a given subject. Visual learners better understand information through optical means, and VR is a perfect example of this.
For example, suppose a student is learning the parts of the human body through VR. In this case, they may memorize the bones and organs when they can reach out and touch them in a virtual environment. This is one case where a traditional learning setting may not be as effective.
Creates Interest Around School Subjects
Anyone who has used a VR headset or wants to use one is interested in having this kind of immersive experience. VR technology continues to gain popularity worldwide, and an educational setting is a perfect place to build interest in students. In a technical classroom, technology is already a priority, so why not experiment with the latest and greatest?
When students gain firsthand experience with the technology they may use in their future careers, they’re developing crucial skills that can help them market themselves to employers. Additionally, students can improve their soft skills using VR because it’s a secure and safe environment.
Increase Student Engagement
Nowadays, it’s challenging for teachers to accommodate students with productive, interesting, and engaging learning material. Digital technologies like smartphones, smart TVs, and tablets are all impacting student attention spans. A study from Microsoft found that our attention spans can sometimes be down to eight seconds or less.
Many students would enjoy using VR to supplement their learning and even be excited to talk about it at home with their friends or family. When students are excited, how can they not feel engaged in the classroom, especially a technical one?
Improves the Quality of Education
VR offers plenty of opportunities for educators to unleash their creativity. VR can be used to:- Explore oceans and marine life
- Examine and learn about the human anatomy
- Time travel to key events in history
- Travel and explore other regions of the world
- Allow students to create their own VR content or experiences
The immersive nature of VR elevates the quality of the educational experience for students of all ages.
What is VR Expeditions 2.0?
One widely used VR solution comes from RobotLAB, an award-winning leader in the educational robotics market. RobotLAB’s VR Expedition 2.0 is a VR solution that comes with plenty of features specifically designed to make implementing VR in a technical classroom much easier for teachers.
These are some key features of VR Expeditions 2.0:
- Search: Educators can easily search for specific VR experiences for their students.
- Pause: Broadcasts can be paused so teachers can discuss the VR experience.
- Recovery Mode: This feature reconnects students to a VR experience if the teacher device turns off in the middle of a learning session.
- Highlights: Teachers can highlight specific details or points of interest of a VR experience.
For educators leading a technical classroom, RobotLAB’s VR Expedition 2.0 can be a useful VR solution to help provide students with the ultimate VR experience.
Consider VR for Technical Classrooms
VR technology will continue to develop, meaning that more educational use cases will crop up. Teachers in technical education should consider leveraging VR technology to improve their teaching skills, allow students to learn visually, and provide high-quality learning experiences.
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