VR in Education

The first known mention of virtual reality was in a short story from 1935 titled “Pygmalion’s Spectacles.” Now, nearly a hundred years later, virtual reality is part of school life for more than six million students across the United States.

The first major breakthrough came in 2012 with the release of the Oculus Rift headset. Suddenly, people could experience video games in 3D. Since then, scientists and researchers have realized that VR can be used for lots of things beyond gaming. Doctors and engineers use VR for training and for doing their jobs. And teachers and students can use VR, too. Now, students can take virtual field trips, explore career options, or even watch a historical battle take place.

VR in Education

For most of history, learning has meant reading a textbook, writing out answers to questions, taking notes during class, and studying for quizzes and tests. But with VR, teachers can take you all over the world and let you have hands-on experiences with history, science, and other subjects, which can help you learn better and remember more of what you learn.

Travel the World

  • Experience Machu Picchu: National Geographic teamed with Oculus to create this tour of Machu Picchu that includes a tour of an Incan home.
  • The Grand Canyon VR Experience: A kayak tour of the Grand Canyon allows users to control the speed, choose day or nighttime, and stop along the way as they travel the bottom of the canyon.
  • Explore Vatican City: One of the smallest countries in the world is rich in history and famous works of art, including the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
  • Gdansk, Poland: A waterfront Polish city offers the chance to learn about maritime history while viewing the lovely colored buildings topped with picturesque spires along old cobblestone streets.
  • Vietnam’s UNESCO Sites: The natural beauty of Ha Long Bay and the Phong Na Caves can be toured along with the historic sections of Hoi An in these virtual tours.

Time-Travel to Key Events in History

  • The Dunkirk Virtual Reality Experience: Produced as part of the marketing campaign for a 2017 movie, this virtual experience lets people experience the evacuation after Allied troops were surrounded by German forces and attacked during World War II.
  • Civil War 1864: A Virtual Reality Experience: This experience begins in a Confederate trench in 1864 and moves through a battle and into a Union hospital, allowing users to experience a Civil War battle from start to finish.

Explore Space and the Ocean

  • NASA at Home: NASA has a wide variety of virtual experiences and apps available to bring outer space into people’s homes.
  • Sanctuaries 360°: Explore the Blue: The network of underwater parks overseen by the National Marine Sanctuary System is available to view virtually, letting users pick between seeing coral reefs in the Florida Keys or the Channel Islands and their impressive kelp forests.

Experience Careers Firsthand

  • Virtual Job Shadowing: Job shadowing virtually is a new experience for students, job-seekers, and recruiters. Knowing how the process works is an important first step.
  • Career Exploration and Virtual Job Shadowing: A video designed to help students and parents understand career options and virtual job shadowing comes with a discussion guide and worksheet to help get the conversation flowing
  • VR Career Experience: This VR app lets you explore jobs in different trades, like pipe-fitting and welding.

Virtual Reality in Other Industries

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