Virtual Reality has been banded about for many a good long year as the future of education and learning but are we now in an age where the technology can deliver on the kinds of experiences that transform how we learn?
It’s a tricky question.. Certainly the technology has moved on at an amazing pace and many schools in Perth & Kinross recently had the chance to work with Google on their Google Expeditions projects. That is, going on virtual adventures with their special viewfinders that take in places like the surface of the moon, the Galapagos islands and Machu Picchu. These are places that the majority of our pupils would not easily get to in their school years but the immersive environments that VR provides really engaged and connected them to their learning.
There are lots of VR kits out there in the market now – Samsung Gear, Playstation VR and Oculus Rift amongst others, but their core market is in the world of Computer Games. What the cardboard experience has taught us is that there really is a role out there for VR but, like all technology in learning, it has to be used as part of our planning and assessment considerations – we need to ensure that it helps cement the learning and understanding for our pupils and is not just a shiny distraction.
Maybe the idea that in 30 years we’ll all be wearing headsets at our desks is a nonsense one but I have the feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more VR and AR (augmented Reality) in our classrooms as a matter of course.
This interesting infographic from Touchstone Research considers how young people think about the potential for VR.