Immersive Learning Using VR/AR in the Classroom

As technology advances, so do the ways we use it to communicate and share knowledge. Immersive learning technologies are changing how we think about education. There is no doubt that technology is having a transformational effect.

Online learning has become increasingly popular as it offers students more flexibility and convenience. However, what if there was a way to merge the best aspects of online and in-person learning? That is where immersive technology comes in.

Immersive technology, also known as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), allows educators to create an extended classroom experience for their students. These technologies can create immersive learning experiences that go beyond traditional teaching and learning methods. They can help us to better understand the world around us and connect with others who share our interests.

So how exactly can immersive technology be used in education? In this article, we will explore different ways educators can start using VR and AR in the classroom.

Key takeaways:

  • VR and AR create an immersive learning experience beyond traditional teaching and learning methods.
  • Immersive technology can extend the classroom to make learning more convenient for students.
  • It allows students to connect with their peers and learn in a collaborative environment.

Virtual Field Trips: Experienced-based learning

Experienced-Based Learning: Learn by doing

While VR and AR are often thought of as new technologies, they can often be used to enhance existing teaching methods. We can immerse ourselves in experiences that transport us to different places and times. This type of learning is called experienced-based learning.

Virtual Time Travel

For instance, if you are studying a particular historical event, you could use VR to transport yourself back in time and see it unfold before your eyes. Students can walk around Ancient Rome, explore the inside of a volcano, or visit the outer reaches of space.

VR is a computer-generated simulation of an environment that allows you to interact with it in a realistic way. VR is made possible by wearing a headset that covers your eyes and ears, immersing you in a virtual world. The headset tracks your movements and adjusts the environment accordingly, giving you the sensation of being in another place.

Augmenting Information

On the other hand, AR superimposes information over real-world objects; this could be used to display relevant data, or give step-by-step instructions. You could use AR to superimpose translations over real-world objects if you’re trying to learn a new language.

The possibilities for experienced-based learning are endless. If you can imagine it, chances are there is a way to make it happen. And as technology continues to develop, the possibilities will only become more exciting and limitless.

The amount of creativity here gives educators much flexibility in curriculum planning. It also allows students who might not be able to go on traditional field trips (due to financial reasons or preexisting medical conditions) to still participate and learn in an interactive way.

Key takeaways:

  • Enhance education with experienced-based learning.
  • Use VR for virtual field trips across place and time.
  • AR can superimpose information over real-world objects.
  • Educators can create their own personal environment and experience.

Interact With the World: Hands-on learning

Hands-on Learning: Interacting with the world around us

Until recently, the vast majority of human interaction has been limited to the physical world. We touch, we taste, we smell, we see, and we hear. But what if there was a way to go beyond that? What if we could interact with our environment in a completely new way?

One of the most amazing things about VR is that it does not just allow you to see and hear another place but physically interact with it. You can pick up objects, walk around, and even manipulate them to see how they work. VR has the potential to change the way we learn by immersing students in the material and giving them a first-hand experience of what they are studying.

Accessible Experiences

For example, suppose a student is interested in architecture but does not have access to expensive design software. In that case, they could use VR to create 3D models of their ideas. Or, if a student wants to learn how to play the piano but does not have one at home, they could use VR to practice their skills.

AR can be used for science experiments, math problem-solving, and even complex geometry. Students can experiment with different variables and see the results in real time. This visual tool has great potential to help students understand complex concepts.

Creating Safe Environments

In addition, immersive technology can also be used to simulate dangerous situations so that students can learn how to respond without putting themselves in actual danger. For example, students can use VR headsets and see what it is like to shadow a surgeon as they operate or to see what it is like to work in an emergency room.

Firefighters might enter buildings on fire or react during tsunami training exercises where there is an impending earthquake. Immersion into these experiences helps prepare students for what may happen when faced with those real-life events.

Key takeaways:

  • Hands-on learning – learn by doing.
  • VR lets you interact with your environment.
  • Increased engagement – students are more likely to stay focused in a VR classroom.
  • VR and AR can be used for science experiments, math problem-solving, and even complex geometry.
  • It provides a safe environment for students to learn about dangerous or unaccessible situations.

Social Interactions: Collaborative Learning

Collaborative Learning: Peer-to-peer collaboration

Learning is a social experience, and the quality of our education often depends on how we interact with others. This is true for educators, as a collaboration among professionals helps improve the overall quality of education. But what about learners’ relationships with their peers? Do these interactions also have an impact on student learning?

There is evidence to suggest that they do. According to studies, social interaction is essential for students’ cognitive development. Students who frequently interact with their peers learn more effectively and retain information longer than those who do not. Additionally, peer-to-peer collaboration fosters valuable skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking.

Immersive Group Projects

One of the best things about VR is that it is great for group projects. When students work on a project together in VR, they are actually working in the same space, even though they may be in different physical locations, which encourages collaboration between students in and out of the classroom.

Students who participate in immersive learning experiences can collaborate on projects, break out into groups, and build their own worlds or thought processes. There are several tools available that allow students to build their own VR worlds without needing any coding or complex programming knowledge.

Virtual World-Building

Once students have built their VR world, they can then use it as a platform for exploring different concepts and ideas. For example, students could create a virtual world that simulates the effects of climate change on an ecosystem. They could experiment with different variables such as temperature, precipitation, and resource availability to see how these factors affect the overall health of the ecosystem. This would give them a valuable opportunity to see first-hand the potential impacts of climate change on the environment.

Key takeaways:

  • Collaborative learning improves the overall quality of education.
  • Encourages communication between students in and out of the classroom.
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration fosters teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills.
  • Students can build their own VR worlds without any coding knowledge.
  • VR worlds can be used as a platform for exploring different concepts and ideas.

Immersive technology provides new ways of communicating and sharing knowledge

Andy Fidel, Spatial Network Evangelist

Provided for OEB Global 2022 by Andy Fidel. Find the original post here

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