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Technology and education have been closely linked for a very long time. Throughout decades, educators were integrating new technologies to improve their students’ experiences and help them perform better.
Today, classrooms are already packed with all sorts of gadgets. And, sometimes, it can even seem like there is nothing new we can integrate. However, here comes VR and it can bring plenty of new opportunities. But, is it nonsense or saving grace? Let’s find this out!
5 Pros of VR in Education
We have long gotten used to technology in education. Today’s students can do plenty of things using their gadgets. Namely, they can take online lessons, find someone to ask “write my paper for me” to get professional academic help, research information for their homework, and do much more. But, VR is not like any other kind of technology we’ve seen in schools. It helps create unique experiences that would be impossible without it.
For example, VR makes it possible for History students to take a trip to major historic events. For medicine students, it allows practicing complex surgeries in a safe environment. And there are many other examples similar to these. All in all, Virtual Reality can help make learning experiences more meaningful and rich, and provide hands-on practice.
Complex Concepts Made Simple
Apart from offering unique experiences, VR can also help teachers explain complex concepts to students easier and more effectively. There is no secret that visualization of learning material contributes to better perception and retention of information. And VR does just that.
With its help, students can see how a human body, space, or any other object or concept works from the inside. As a result, they will grasp and retain the material better. So, VR is another opportunity for us to simplify studying.
Regardless of their age or major, modern students love cutting-edge technologies and always feel excited about the possibility of using them in the classroom. So, the next huge benefit of integrating VR into the curriculum is that it sparks genuine interest in learners.
Many students have heard about it. And, without a doubt, it is a pretty interesting technology. Thus, if a teacher announces a VR integration, they can rest assured that their students will feel extremely excited about it and, thus, will be more motivated to learn.
Higher Engagement Levels
We all know that studying can be rather boring. Students of all academic levels quickly get sick and tired from traditional assignments and classroom activities, and as a result, their engagement in these activities drops. However, VR can change this.
Virtual Reality apps don’t just spark interest in students. They actually keep learners engaged in the entire process. VR activities are often very similar to games. And we all know that video games are very engaging. Therefore, by integrating this technology into the curriculum teachers can boost their students’ engagement and keep them motivated to participate in different classroom activities.
Finally, one more benefit of VR in education is that this technology has the potential to erase all the barriers currently existing in this field. Virtual Reality tools make learning inclusive. That is, students of all ages, physical conditions, and academic levels can receive equally great learning experiences thanks to personalization. But, that’s not all.
Also, VR can erase the language barrier that exists for international students. It can provide the same materials in multiple languages, thus, making learning absolutely barrier-free.
3 Cons of VR in a Classroom
Probably the biggest disadvantage of VR in education is that it is not accessible to everyone. There is no secret that we have a huge technology gap within our communities. By saying this we mean that schools located in rural areas or less developed countries simply don’t have access to the same cutting-edge technologies due to the lack of stable internet connection.
Another big issue in terms of accessibility is the cost of this technology. Although the concept of VR isn’t completely new, we can say that it is still a rather young technology. So, it’s not surprising that it is quite expensive. This fact means that schools that lack funding also won’t be able to leverage VR in the classroom. Therefore, not everyone can enjoy all the benefits of VR at this point.
Addiction to the Virtual World
Another major concern related to the use of Virtual Reality in education is the possible addiction to the virtual world. People have been debating about the harm of technology for a very long time. And, at this point, there is no doubt left in the fact that gadgets really can be addicting. Thus, many teachers and parents are afraid that students can get addicted to VR if they will regularly use it in the classroom.
Lack of Human Interaction
Finally, the last notable con of using VR in education is that it can somewhat interfere with human interactions inside the classroom. During traditional class activities, students can ask questions and have discussions on the topic. However, when they immerse themselves in a virtual world, their interaction with classmates and teachers won’t feel the same. And some believe that this can harm human communication.
The Bottom Line
We’ve looked at some of the major benefits and drawbacks of integrating VR in education. So, what is its real value in this field? Is it nonsense or really a saving grace?
Looking back at all the benefits that this technology offers, as well as on the projections of industry specialists, we can confidently say that Virtual Reality has a massive potential to change learning and teaching for the better. It can boost students’ engagement, offer unique experiences, and, thus, help bring the traditional academic curriculum to a new quality level.
As for the drawbacks, they are still there. However, the cons of using VR in the classroom are mostly linked to a technology gap and the inability to leverage VR in the most effective and meaningful way. Thus, our verdict is that VR can really be a saving grace in education. All we need to overcome the cons is to learn how to use it right.
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