Virtual Reality in the Classroom: A Student's Guide to Exploring the World

Virtual reality is an emerging technology that offers a plethora of potential opportunities to visit places you may have never seen before, step into roles you didn’t think you could be part of, and experience things you previously thought to be impossible. While right now, VR is primarily known for gaming, there are plenty of educational utilities available for students to learn more about the world around them without having to worry about the financial obligation of traveling.

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Ten Reasons to Use Virtual Reality in the Classroom

1. Travel to and Explore Places All Over the World Without Leaving the Classroom

It’s harder than ever to create field trips that all students can enjoy. Between the time constraints, cost, and permission slips, it can feel like an impossible task. However, with virtual reality, students can travel all over the world without ever leaving the classroom. There are plenty of museums and historical sites that have created VR apps or virtual tours for classes to use.

2. Develop Empathy for Communities in Crisis by Stepping Into Their Shoes

Reading about crises that people are facing around the world can be a great way to build empathy in students, but with VR, you can let students step into the shoes of kids and adults all over the world. This can be a great way to provide context and get children to truly empathize with the struggles of others.

3. Experience Different Careers Firsthand

Using virtual reality to show off different careers is a great way for students to see what different professional fields do all day. For students struggling to choose between different career paths, this particular activity, where they can immerse themselves into a role, can be a great way for students to better picture what a career path is like.

4. Explore the Depths of the Ocean and the Vastness of Space

You don’t have to settle for just museums and tourist destinations on your VR field trips. In fact, you can satisfy even the most curious students by nurturing that natural love for adventure with VR programs that show off what it would be like to be in a submarine or rocket ship and tour parts of the universe that they may not otherwise see.

5. Time-Travel to Key Events and Places From the Past

Instead of just reading about history or watching a documentary, imagine being there as it unfolds. There are a variety of different VR programs that allow students to fully immerse themselves in the events of the past so they’ll truly get a better understanding of what it was like.

6. Explore the Human Body

There’s so much going on in the human body that sometimes, it can feel foreign. However, with VR anatomy applications, students can truly understand the different parts of the body by exploring them up close. Students can even dissect body parts in some apps to see how they function.

7. Allow Students to Share Their World With Others by Creating Their Own VR Content

Students aren’t solely required to explore the worlds that other people have created to further their own knowledge. In fact, they can create their own three-dimensional experience that they can share with their classmates and even the world to truly show off their creativity.

8. Discover How VR Can Be Used in Other Industries, Like Medicine, Engineering, Entertainment, and Real Estate

VR has become a great tool in industries like technology, medicine, and entertainment. It’s great for training new hires, creating engaging video games, and even testing out new tools and techniques. Students can develop an understanding of how important VR is in business and master it for the future.

9. Explore How VR Can Be Integrated Into Every Subject Area and Curriculum

Virtual reality is a relatively new technology, and it’s still in its infant stages of being used as an educational conduit. That means there’s untold potential that many students and teachers have yet to discover. Maybe you can discover new tips and tricks with your class!

10. Promote Curiosity and Wonder

Children are naturally curious, and while you can do a lot to nurture that curiosity through books, movies, and conversation, there’s truly nothing like being able to experience things for yourself. VR creates an immersive environment where students can satisfy all of their questions and concerns in a safe space.

Virtual Reality Educational Tools and Resources

  • Virtual Reality Gallery: In this lesson, students create a virtual gallery to hang their art after using several different online photo editing programs.
  • Sample Lesson Plans: Download lesson plans for VR created by teachers all over the world that you can implement in your own classroom.
  • Story Spheres: This resource pairs VR with digital storytelling to create unique VR experiences. Students can create their own experience or use a downloaded one!
  • History View: Explore national and international historic sites for free to learn more about each location.
  • Panoform: This app pairs real-life drawings with VR experiences so students can create their own design, upload it, and experience it virtually.
  • Shakespeare VR: This open-source tool for instructors is a great way to implement VR into your Shakespeare and Elizabethan theater lesson plans.
  • 360 Tour Creation Lesson Plan: Create virtual tours using 360-degree photos to help students develop their research skills, 3D creation skills, and digital literacy knowledge.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Students can watch live cams of the different exhibits available at the Georgia Aquarium from the comfort of their classroom and learn a little about the species the aquarium hosts.
  • Virtual Tour of the ISS: Explore the different parts of the International Space Station and learn a little bit about what each part of the station does.

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