Hello and Welcome to The World of Virtual Reality!  

Yes, that’s right guys, we’re diving in deep and exploring the ways VR is used within Higher Education. As you may have already learnt from reading my previous blog post: ‘How Universities are Getting Down and Digital’, Higher and secondary education institutionshave been adapting with today’s tech-savvy teens as they continue to advance with the most cuttingedge technologies that our generation has to offer. Virtual Augmented Reality happens to be one of them.  

By recreating possible real-life situations without the risks, damages or consequences, VR is the perfect medium for industrial training, allowing students to engage in learning through immersive problem-solving (Unimersiv 2019). Moreover, VR comes in four different set ups: 

  • Desktop System 
  • Wide-Screen Projection System 
  • Immersive CAVE System 
  • Immersive VR System using Head-Mount Displays (HMDs) as a viewing device 

Desktop VR is basically like a standard computer-interaction, using the monitor or laptop screen as the viewing device and a mouse or keyboard for interactions (Erenay and Hasemipour 2003). However, the above types of VR set-ups have all somehow been put into use on the educational front. So, without further ado, here’s the download on some of the most innovative ways of bringing VR to classrooms.  

Did Somebody Say Doctor? 

Science and Medical faculties within higher education are putting immersive technology into practise when training students. Using augmented simulations, science and medical students are learning about the inside of the human body and gaining first-hand experiences on the day-to-day lives of elderly patients with dementia (ClassVR 2018). 

According to the University of Leicester, a study showed how an orthopaedic resident who took up VR training on an arthroscopic knee simulator was better equipped for real-life surgeries and had a higher skill level than the overall control group. This is because surgical trainees who experienced learning through VR simulations of real-life procedures showed much quicker and more effective techniques when carrying out robotic cardiac surgeries (2019). 

Class VR who? 

Furthermore, Virtual reality has made its move on a few Academies across the UK. ClassVR is one organisation that has advanced the features of VR technology and integrated it within secondary school learning. Many teachers were sceptical about the use of VR in classrooms. However, the results look promising as schools had noticed that pupils had higher levels of engagement and were better at retaining knowledge. Moroever, ClassVR offers tutors an online portal for lesson planning and real-time classroom delivery. And if that does tickle your fancy, the programme also enables teachers to monitor multiple pupil’s as well as their progress. all this on one quick and easy platform (ClassVR 2019). Worth a try teach!  

Find out how ClassVR is being used at St Wilfrid C of E Academy: 

(YouTube 2017) 

The Future of Engineering in VR’s Hands 

VR Learning has gone above and beyond as it soon makes its way to vocational studies. This means that virtual augmented reality will reshape how we train future mechanical engineers in the upcoming year. Classroom learning is an essential part of getting hands-on and practical for engineer students. With new VR technologies, classrooms can now be turned into a fun and immersive environment where students can gain an in-depth understanding of real-life risky situations and practical problem solving without the actual risk or any injuries. This helps students learn from their mistakes and prepares them for the worst as VR technology brings real-life learning to students in a safely controlled simulated environment (Luminous Group 2019). 

Limitless Learning For All! 

Additionally, Virtual reality has manged to brake learning barriers and open doors for student with disabilities. According to D2L’s Article: ‘How Virtual Reality Can Transform the Way People with Disabilities Learn’, VR has helped students with disabilities to expand their knowledge, skills and attitudes in ways that schools and other educational intuits haven’t been able to achieve before. Learning has never been better for such students as real-life simulations have enabled them to enjoy engaging in learning space without limitations imposed by their disability (2018) 

Moreover, VR learning helps students with disabilities overcome any physical as well as phycological limitations, for instance, a student in a wheelchair can experience surfing or walking on the moon through virtual simulations. It’s unique experiences like these that VR can offer in learning as well, giving students with barriers to learning an opportunity to experience a new perspective to their learning capabilities which wasn’t so easily assessible in the past (Chandrashekar 2018) 

One example of putting VR into practise amongst young people with disabilities would be FloreoTech – an interactive software that uses Virtual Augmented Reality to develop an immersive and fun method of teaching social and communication skills for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These virtual simulations of real-life interactions for learners also provides parents and teachers an opportunity to monitor and track users on their progress (2019)There are more ways in which VR technology can support students with Autism at FloreoTech.com. Also, check out my blog article on how Assistive technologies can help Additional Learning Support students by clicking here. 

FINALLY! To conclude our journey through the world of Virtual Reality, Real-life simulations for education has really put its foot in the door as it adds a unique twist to learning creatively, and immersivity within a controlled, risk-free environment. Classroom learning has never been more exciting, and VR is rather ahead of its time as it offers a window of opportunities for future interactive learning ideas. Overall, things have just gotten bigger and better as VR opens new doors for students in science, medicine and engineering fields. It even supports young adults and children with learning difficulties, giving them a chance to explore real-life experiences regardless of thier psychological or physical limitations. – There are no limits to learning with VR. 

Watch this short video for more on Immersive VR Education: 

(YouTube 2016) 

Are you VR-Savvy?… 
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