Virtual Reality is one of the fastest-growing new technologies in the education market. IDC predicts that VR headset shipments in 2021 will exceed 72 million; that’s up from 10 million in 2016. For education, VR provides an amazingly-immersive means to educate and engage students.
The ability of virtual reality to captivate more students’ attention with its 3-d world of interaction makes it an ideal tool for enhancing classroom learning. According to our Virtual Reality in the Classroom Survey, the subjects making the most use of virtual reality are science, history, arts and humanities, and engineering and math. The technology is not replacing lectures or curriculum, but rather complementing teaching lessons. The majority of educators are planning to use virtual reality in future lessons. Our survey found that only 4% do not plan to utilize VR in the future.
The downside of VR is there is a content shortage and it is still perceived as difficult to implement. Thankfully, more content is constantly being developed. Many schools (30%) don’t believe their network infrastructure can handle the increased network traffic that accompanies virtual reality. Without proper network infrastructure, they may face slow connectivity, weak wireless connections, and difficult device on-boarding.
Some argue VR headsets could be a classroom distraction, but the headsets can also cancel out distractions by immersing students in virtual learning. The headsets cover students eyes and rule out the possibility of students looking elsewhere. With headphones, noise disturbances are also blocked.
Another capability of virtual reality is to provide virtual field trip experiences right in the classroom, instead of requiring bus transportation and outside monitoring of 20+ students on a field trip. Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents believe virtual reality excites students to learn and 39% say it encourages creativity.
At the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference from June 25-28 one of the highly anticipated topics is the use of virtual reality in the classroom. There will be about 40 sessions and workshops for attendees to learn more about this budding technology. The sessions include:
Dr. Maureen Yoder, ISTE presenter of VR and AR: A Comprehensive Overview and 12 Realistic Classroom Possibilitiesdelivered the Extreme Networks webinar 8 Technologies and Trends to Inspire Creativity and Enhance Teachinglast October and discussed the growing use of augmented and virtual reality in classrooms.
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