Optimizing Education with Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful tool that can engage students and immerse them in experiences they would otherwise not encounter. Students can take a field trip to the Louvre, learn about the internal organs of a frog with an augmented reality (AR) app, explore the universe with AR overlays of the night sky or learn a new language with an immersive experience without traveling to another country. Virtual reality and augmented reality can captivate students with unique experiences.

Many educators support the benefits of virtual reality in the classroom, but some are resistant to embracing VR technology. Some believe that VR technology is not a legitimate teaching tool and is more suited to entertainment. The high cost of the equipment and ever-growing subject content are other concerns for administrators and teachers.

An online Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership from Lamar University can prepare graduates to use technology in the classroom to support learning for all students. AR technology transforms how information is delivered, allowing progressive and forward-thinking graduates of this program to reshape the idea of a traditional classroom. Using technology to inspire students can help with engagement, comprehension and fact retention.

Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Classroom

Virtual reality creates an immersive, 360-degree user experience that feels genuine and tangible. Students can interact with an enveloping environment that can boost creativity and spark imagination. VR helps students engage in topics by visiting any place in the world or viewing the human body in three dimensions to gain a deeper understanding. Augmented reality on the other hand allows students to interact with the world around them in new and creative ways.

A study reported in EdTech found that students who used mixed reality tools to learn biology scored higher than those students who didn’t use mixed reality content. Growing research shows that using augmented and virtual reality as supplemental learning tools can increase recall and memory retention.

How to Use Mixed Reality in the Classroom

Virtual reality and augmented reality transform the learning process. By offering opportunities for students to take a ride on a red blood cell through their bodies, visit planets in our solar system and experience medieval London, mixed reality will become the future of education. Here are a few ways to use this technology in the classroom.

  • Field trips. While VR is not a substitute for real-life, in-person encounters, the opportunity to have new experiences by visiting virtual space, touring the inside of a beehive or walking on the surface of the moon can bring to life adventures students never imagined were possible. AR can enhance visits to museums or other places of historical significance through more in-depth interactive information or added game elements to the experience.
  • Group learning. With mixed reality, students have an opportunity to collaborate with other students around the world in new and inventive ways. By using mapped facial expressions and avatars, students can interact, discuss and share their new discoveries with others.
  • Language immersion. Virtual immersion is the next best thing to spending an extended amount of time in a country to learn the language. VR allows learners to connect with people to practice the language and interact in real-world experiences.
  • Special education. Meditative virtual reality apps and virtual tours of local areas can help calm students that may have anxiety in unfamiliar situations or locations. By offering low-stress experiences, students can explore new places and develop life skills that translate to their daily interactions. Similarly, AR can ease these students into new and unfamiliar places by overlaying sites, sounds and other techniques to alleviate the stress that often accompanies new environments.

Next Steps

An online Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership from Lamar University may be right for you if you’re interested in building communities that support learning for all students. With this program, you can learn best practices and strategies for using technology in the classroom to spark creativity and understanding.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership program.

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