Growth Of Virtual Reality As A Tool In K-8 Education

VR will raise the quality of education by improving knowledge absorption.

Virtual reality (VR) technology or the use of computer software to generate a virtual environment that is immersive and interactive has immense potential to redefine the entire education sector. In the near future students will be able to explore ancient cities and visit historical sites, or explore the functioning of various parts of the human body in a virtual yet realistic environment. This will have a huge impact on the way education is imparted in schools and also significantly raise the quality of education by improving knowledge absorption. There will no longer remain the need to use examples to explain the contents of the text book as everything can be recreated in virtual reality. Field trips, science experiments, and site visits can all be arranged within the comforts of the classrooms.

Studies have shown that we learn best through experience or by doing things. VR enables us to do just that in education. Game based virtual learning increases students’ motivation as they are fun and keeps the students engaged. The current generation of learners is early adopter and highly adept at using technology. More over a student’s capacity to discover and learn will no longer be limited to the environment around them.

So, what is in store for teachers in an era of virtual reality learning? Will they lose relevance and be rendered obsolete or will they play a more central role inspite of all the technology around. The introduction of new technology in teaching in the past had not replaced the teachers and nor can it be expected that a new technology will be able to do so in the future. A computer or technology for that matter cannot been trusted to help develop a student’s non-cognitive and soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, cross-cultural communication, or a certain mindset.

Technology can be programmed to do repetitive and mundane things and often flawlessly but technology cannot be programmed to guide and mentor students, encourage them when they are struggling and direct them to the right path when necessary. However smart or advanced a computer programme or a product might be, one thing it cannot have when it comes to education is the knowledge and life experiences a teacher possesses. It however must be noted that technological advancement will one day replace teachers who ‘cannot use technology’ with teachers who ‘can usetechnology as a part of teaching’.

This article was published in BW Education issue dated 'April 7, 2017' with cover story titled 'BW Education Inaugural Issue April-May 2017'

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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