April 21, 2016 10:33 AM

How Virtual Reality is Making Education Better

How Virtual Reality is Making Education Better

Virtual reality has always struggled with acceptance into mainstream technology. It’s been a dream for most designers and technology enthusiasts. However, virtual reality has recently been able to carve a place for itself in the area of education. Instead of focusing on gaming experiences, virtual reality manufacturers are bringing their technology to the classroom.

For instance, Google recently launched its Expeditions app that will give teachers the ability to bring their students on a virtual tour of any city. Instead of talking about a certain location, teachers can bring students around the world using virtual reality. The launch will change the way students understand other cultures and geography.

Google has several programs in the education system, and many other virtual reality manufacturers are on board to enhance the education system. Z-Space is using its virtual reality technology to enhance medical training and learning. Alchemy VR offers a way for teachers to tell a story. It produces virtual reality in collaboration with Atlantic Productions and Zoo VFX to give students a way to explore nature including under the sea.

Most of the latest VR technology revolves around global experiences, but VR Immersive focuses on space exploration teaching kids about other planets and the solar system.

The theme for most manufacturers is to bring experiences to students that they would otherwise never be able to see. They bring science, nature and travel to the classroom. It changes the way students understand these topics. Some students are more visual learners, so the technology could prove to have a major impact in education and understanding for students who would otherwise struggle to understand these concepts.

The most popular VR device currently is Oculus, which was recently purchased by Facebook. It’s gained much of the VR press lately. One of virtual reality’s biggest hurdles that hindered its popularity in the technology market is the expense. VR has never been an affordable addition to a home, office or the classroom. Oculus has been able to provide a virtual reality experience for as low as $599, which is similar in expense to a smartphone or tablet.

Virtual reality hasn’t made it to mainstream yet, but its introduction into the education system could make it a household item within the next few years. If students are learning through virtual reality machines, it’s reasonable to expect them to bring VR devices to the home to continue education, finish homework, or just play a game.