With more and more tech giants staking a claim in the virtual reality market many are asking the question what can this technology be used for? Is it just a fun way to play games? Will films move to virtual reality? We don’t know as yet but education is one area where this futuristic technology is already making a noticeable impact and it goes beyond the simple Google apps that have been floating around for over a year. Outlined below is some suggestions as to how this ground-breaking industry could change the way in which we educate our children.
It would be unfair to talk about virtual reality without at least mentioning Googles super affordable cardboard solution. Firstly, how many children do you know you have a smartphone? It is almost certainly the majority of your children’s friends. Which means that VR in this format is extremely accessible despite being simplistic in its functionality. Pioneer Expeditions was launched in 2015 and unless their parents are very affluent, this gives children the chance to see things they simply would not have the opportunity to. From the Great Wall of China to Mars the experience are limitless. That is not all that can be offered through Google cardboard though with several ingenious developers working on education apps that can be downloaded straight from the app store but there are also more companies offering all-inclusive solutions to bolster current curriculums.
Since 2012 VR start-ups have raised more than $1.4bn in venture capital and not all of them are working on games some are putting these resources squarely behind providing VR solutions for the education sector. Z-Space, Alchemy VR and Immersive Education are the three big contenders in this sector and all offer something slightly different but still relevant.
Z-space provides a hardware based solution with desktop computers then children would put glasses on to see in 3d. Inputs can be a simple keyboard and mouse setup or a pen that allows interaction with virtual objects. This allows children the chance to work collaboratively and explore in ways that have never been possible before. Using the pen children can dissect the planet or the human eye to understand how it works or they can build engineering projects before seeing how they will work.
Alchemy VR are software developers and have worked on the Google Pioneer project among many others. Currently virtual reality tours of the Great Barrier Reef and first life both with David Attenborough are on display in museums around the world. They aim to create the most compelling virtual reality experiences which allow the user to experience something truly remarkable.
Immersive Education approach VR in another way entirely they offer Lecture VR which allows the creation of virtual reality presentations to give immersive lectures that could be taken anywhere in the world. This means that in the future your child whilst at university could sit through a lecture on Roman history where the lecturer can physically show them buildings and more through their VR headset. On top of this they offer similar experience based learning tours to Alchemy VR.
The world of Education has never been more exciting than it is with these breath-taking virtual reality experiences that can enhance learning and engage children in a way that teachers can struggle to.
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