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Whether or not you’re into technology, the vast majority of us educators have noticed the astronomical rise in learning-led technology over the last few years.

After all, you can’t miss it. Virtual reality in education is the latest development in classroom tools, and it looks like virtual reality in the classroom is more actual reality than the sci-fi future we once thought it was. We’ve rounded up the best virtual reality in education that might benefit your students – or add dimension to teaching.

Read on to discover why VR in education is so exciting, what virtual reality in the classroom spells for the future of teaching, and how students learn.

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What is virtual reality in education?

Since the mid-2000s, the concept of augmented and virtual reality has been a staple gimmick in everything from smartphone releases to video game development. But beyond the more entertainment-focused benefits that virtual reality brings, it also holds plenty of value in many other avenues.

With VR now being used for simulating real-life surgeries for doctors and countless other high-end purposes, it’s no surprise that this technology is just as valuable in schools as in workplaces and research labs.

As far as in 1999 in The Journal, virtual reality educational technology in schools has been widely discussed to improve education and provide students with a more well-rounded approach to schooling compared to less technology-focused methods. With more and more technology integrated into the classroom as it is, VR seems like a more sensible step than it once did in the past. Now we understand the technology better, and how to implement it, there can be many advantages to a virtual classroom beyond what we might once have considered. Some of those advantages include the following:

  • Providing students with experiences or visualizations that can’t be accomplished through teacher-led learning
  • Offering a way to connect with teaching remotely while remaining fully immersed within the educational environment
  • Working with the technology that students may utilize in future jobs or careers, allowing them to get to grips with valuable skills that will serve them later in life

While these are just some of the advantages of virtual reality in education, there are many other possibilities. Apps, online testing, and other productive technologies have offered an experience for children that’s more tailored to their needs and skill level. Virtual reality can provide an extension. It’s a step up from digital multimedia into a fulfilling environment that, if used correctly, can be highly influential on a student’s ability to learn and engage in class material.

What is the best virtual reality for the classroom?

With VR offering such a favorable opportunity to students when appropriately done, getting it right is an essential first step. Bringing your classroom curriculum to life, and expanding what students can see, do, and experience are fantastic ways to impact their learning. According to Class, VR and AR are so integral to improving education that they should be considered vital additions to the classroom rather than little-used gimmicks or toys for playtime.

Here are just some of the best examples of how VR in education could be applied in your classroom:

Learning through play

Teaching through play can be a fantastic way to use virtual reality for younger students still developing and learning about the world. Thousands of apps and games are available for kindergartners and up that are both educational and engaging through storytelling, interactive games, and more.

The idea of VR is that it’s 100% immersive, allowing children to interact with a virtual world through speech, gestures, and movement.

Contextual learning

One of the problems that students can face when learning about foreign or unnatural concepts is that they can’t put those ideas into context. VR can provide that additional layer of meaning to certain subjects, allowing students to understand environments, cultures, and even geographical locations entirely unlike their own. Exploring the moon, the deepest rain forest, or the ocean’s depths is accessible with a VR headset – not to mention seeing historical events in real life.

With VR, what was once unimaginable can be seen in full color, which significantly helps to improve retention and understanding of a range of different events or subject matters.

Soft skills

VR isn’t only an incredible tool for academic learning. It can also provide an invaluable way to improve soft skills in students, driving their motivation and enhancing their engagement with the subjects they are studying. VR provides a way for students to understand others’ perspectives, even seeing things through the eyes of someone completely different.

Beyond that, it also provides a way to explore different jobs and roles in a virtual and safe environment, which is an incredible tool for older students still deciding where to go with their life or career.

Creativity unleashed

Beyond the more factual and academic side of VR for education, the evolution and development of virtual reality can be an incredible way to enhance creativity. Painting, sculpting, and even 3D modeling software are available to transform the world into your canvas, allowing for the development of artistic skills in a fully-realized environment. For budding artists, VR is a tool of the future – especially for those considering going into digital arts-based industries.

Do you think VR is the future of the modern classroom? In what ways do you think virtual and augmented reality can be crucial to the future learning of your students? Let us know your opinion in the comments below. Whether you believe VR is a gimmick or a valuable learning tool, there’s no doubt that this innovative technology is here to stay.