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Explore, Adventure, & Experience: Virtual Reality in the Classroom

January 11, 2017
By Daniel Fleissig

Virtual Reality is becoming more and more revolutionary in shaping the future and the way we experience and look at life. The bigger it gets the more influential it is on industries such as education, entertainment, and medicine. Every year VR is adding new, innovative features that increase user functionality and detail. Industry leaders such as Facebook and Google are investing and prioritizing many VR-related projects. One of Google’s projects, the ‘Expedition Pioneer Program’ is focused on providing VR headsets to schools to help incorporate it into classroom curriculum.

Penn professor and VR researcher Stephen Lane believes in the immersive nature of VR, as he describes using it as being “transported to another place in time, which can give you an opportunity to explore other cultures or put yourself in the place of other people.” Although it is experimental and there are still some challenges, Lane feels that it is worth exploring because of how influential it can be in education. VR technology will enable students to learn and experience in the classroom setting while getting to go wherever their minds take them. These lifelike experiences enable students to study their subjects through a different point of view and actually experience them instead of reading and memorizing information out of a textbook.

Through the ability to see life-size figures, like getting to see the Mayan ruins of Belize while studying it in class, has the potential for students to catch on easier as seeing something in person can allow for longer retention. Getting to visit the places they study in their curriculum will only make learning more exciting for students while also making it easier on teachers. We at the Foundation love the idea of VR in the classroom and hope that in the not-to-distant future it is added in educational curriculum.