VR and STEM Education
Virtual reality (VR) is a fairly new, innovative technology. There are many ways industries are incorporating this technology. One of the most interesting uses of virtual reality is in education. Sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing, and VR enables students to do things they wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to do. This is especially true in the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. All of these fields involve study and experiments that could be expensive, dangerous, or very complicated. With virtual reality, hands-on learning and experiments can be done anywhere, not just in a large, well-equipped lab.
VR can be really helpful for engineering students. Civil engineers design buildings and they could walk through a virtual construction project before even breaking ground. Aerospace engineers can safely explore complex environments, or stand right next to a virtual rocket engine. Chemical engineers can see how chemicals interact without using expensive supplies or causing a safety hazard.
Just like we need to walk before we run, VR will get more capable in the future. As we continue to develop this technology, we’ll find more uses for it. Part of improving VR comes from studying STEM – sometimes in VR itself. It’s exciting to think that the virtual reality innovators of today could be laying the groundwork for the truly immersive VR of the future.
VR Technologies in STEM Learning – Virtual reality gear can help people learn lots of different subjects. For STEM, it’s even more powerful because it lets us perform complex experiments from anywhere.
How VR is Changing NYU – New York University is pioneering virtual reality development. They’re using it to transform theater, aerospace engineering, and robotics.
Virtual Reality in Education: Benefits, Tools, and Resources – This article explains how schools can use VR in the classroom and why they would want to.
Virtual Reality For Engineering Education & Research – This article illustrates the powerful tools VR offers engineers and engineering students.
Virtual Dissection – VR technology has made it possible to learn about biology without the traditional hands-up practice of dissection.
- Virtual Reality Travel to Mars – The next generation of space scientists can journey to other planets like Mars in virtual reality. The Mars VR experience is based on data from Mars rovers, not an artist’s conception, so it’s as close to being there as you can get.
- Can Virtual Reality Improve Science Education? – We know that being able to see and touch something is helpful in learning. Some science experiments might be too dangerous or expensive to conduct unless you have a really advanced lab. Virtual reality could change that
MoleculE VR – VR users can tour the basic unit of life in this immersive simulation. This can be helpful for biology and chemistry students, who will see on-screen explanations in real-time.
Titans of Space – This virtual reality tour of the solar system is based on actual photos of dozens of planets and stars. Being able to see the scale of planets in three dimensions is an eye-opener.
AnatomYou – Tour the human body in this accurate simulation where you’re in control. Users can navigate through the human circulatory system or any of five other systems.
Mathematicians Create Warped Worlds in Virtual Reality – VR enables mathematicians to create structures that aren’t possible in the real world. This can help to visualize advanced math concepts.
Learning in 3D: Making STEM Real – This article explores some of the most compelling uses for VR in education. Some are still developing and will be powerful in the future, but some are available and useful with today’s technology.
VR Hybrid Automotive Mechanic – Automotive engineers can explore the inside of an engine in virtual reality. That’s a view you can never get in the real world.
Virtual Pipetting – A pipette is like a little syringe, and it’s used to transfer liquids in a lab. In this VR simulation, biochemists can learn to use pipettes accurately, with no risk or waste.
Shapes 3D Geometry – This project lets you build shapes in 3D and then see them in the real world. Even better, you can move them with your hand to see the shapes from every angle.
TiltBrush – This 3D painting tool may be intended for artists, but it also has STEM potential. The ability to create a design and walk around it in 3D could be very helpful when creating prototypes.