It has been a few decades (it even goes back to the 1960s) since the ‘birth’ of the Virtual Reality technology. As for people’s understanding and use of that technology, it only comes down to science fiction films or even rather expensive and bulky equipment that can only be used in a few settings due to the cost of that technology. Nevertheless, several initiatives have been taken in order to minimize such cost and make this technology more mainstream so as to incorporate it into various sectors such as education.
One of the biggest challenges that the educator of today is facing, is engaging and motivating the learner. Technologies such as Virtual Reality can help the student move away from simply “learning” to “feeling” the material that is being taught. Far from being an impressive gadget or trick, students have the chance of experiencing, exploring and interacting with the content that they are taught.
The use of Virtual Reality is and should not be only limited to subjects such as Geography of course, as the teacher is now offered with an additional path in order to gain the motivation and engagement of the student. Especially for the ones that are usually left behind or are simply bored, VR is the ideal tool to attract students of various learning styles, as it can be easier to understand a topic when you see and hear it, rather than having it being explained to you.
There are currently thousands of applications and videos that allow teachers to interact in such a way with their students. The most notable project is Google’s Expeditions where the teacher and class can participate in amazing field trips anywhere in the planet or even our solar system, from discovering coral reefs to exploring the surface of Mars.
Institutions and educators should carefully keep an eye on these amazing developments and always look for opportunities to incorporate these into the curriculum. Of course, technology is not the panacea, but if it is used properly it can effectively prepare students for tomorrow. Hence, students would not have to be taught using outdated methods and materials, which make them lose their interest and motivation.