If you’re reading this, you probably already know what virtual reality is, and that it's transforming education in smart classrooms around the world. And you might even know that millions of students are benefitting from learning with virtual reality every single day. But do you know how virtual reality can be used in education? Discover 5 examples of how schools are creating inspiring lessons with virtual reality below!
Table of contents
How is Virtual Reality Used in Education?
Whether they’re traveling back in time, flying to faraway lands, experiencing the impossible or even creating their own immersive content, educators are creating engaging, unforgettable learning experiences with virtual and augmented reality.
As you’d expect, there’s a HUGE range of virtual reality in education articles available to show you exactly how these schools are implementing VR. To save you spending hours searching through hundreds of virtual reality in education pdfs, case studies and websites, we’ve pulled together the 5 best examples of VR in education for you.
So, if you’re ready, let’s get straight into them!
5 Inspiring Examples of Virtual Reality in Education
1. Virtual Field Trips
Field trips are a vital part of a child’s education. By getting out and exploring topics first-hand, educators can reinforce classroom learning, improve knowledge retention, encourage curiosity and boost student engagement. However, in-person field trips just aren't always possible. With Covid-19 restricting access over the past few years, schools worldwide have been unable to venture out of the classroom – limiting students’ opportunities to experience the world. But it’s not all over...
Using VR for virtual field trips, students can travel to different cities, countries and cultures, all without even needing to leave the classroom! Virtual field trips open up unlimited possibilities, giving students the ability to go anywhere and see anything. From legendary landmarks like Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower, magnificent museums such as the Guggenheim and the Louvre, and even exciting expeditions to destinations like the Sahara and the Arctic, there are literally no limits with virtual field trips.
As well as opening up access, virtual field trips also offer a time and cost-effective option for schools, as students can fly halfway across the world at the click of a button. What’s more, with immersive virtual reality headsets like ClassVR, students will feel like they’re actually there – ensuring the virtual field trips are an unforgettable learning experience! A great example of this comes from Oak Run Middle School in Texas who have been setting off on global explorations with virtual reality, giving many of their students the opportunity to venture out of their home town for the very first time.
2. Exploring Conceptual Subjects
Ready for another example of how virtual reality can be used in education?
Understanding theory-based conceptual subjects can be extremely challenging for students. With most learning coming from textbooks and diagrams, how can students properly grasp an abstract concept if they can’t even truly visualise it?
However, with virtual and augmented reality at their disposal, teachers can genuinely bring conceptual subjects to life! By allowing students to experience, examine and explore more abstract subjects, they can visualise and engage with the topic in ways that just aren’t possible with traditional learning.
Imagine you’re a student learning about cells, a topic that’s typically difficult for children to grasp. Would you find the concept easier to understand with a) a diagram of an animal cell in a textbook or b) a detailed, interactive 3D model of a cell that you can hold and investigate in the palm of your hands?
We're putting our bets of the fact your chose B! Using immersive 3D models, students can hold a cell, examine it from all angles and investigate its structure. There are some great examples of this in schools, with educators using 3D models of cells and 360-degree photos and videos to help students understand complex Chemistry concepts.
3. Developing Computing and Technology Skills
In today’s world, technology is everywhere. That’s why computing is now an crucial part of a student’s education. From maximising learning efficiency to preparing for future jobs and careers, there are many reasons why students need to learn these skills at school... and virtual reality can help!
Virtual reality offers a perfect opportunity for students to develop technology skills in an exciting and engaging environment. Students can practice and hone computing skills by building amazing virtual creations, and then experiencing it all in virtual reality.
For instance, with software like CoSpaces, students can set their imaginations free by creating their own 3D virtual worlds. It’s the perfect introduction to coding! Alongside developing computing and coding abilities, CoSpaces boosts creativity in the classroom and is a perfect tool to use alongside VR. Likewise, ThingLink lets students create and augment images, videos and 3D tours – giving them the opportunity to integrate real-life situations into their learning.
That’s not all... From integration with Paint 3D to Tinkercad, SketchUp to Sketchfab, there are SO many examples of how virtual reality in education can enhance computing skills.
4. Immersive Group Learning
It may come as a surprise, but virtual reality is actually a great way to practice group learning and teamwork! In schools around the world, there are so many brilliant examples of group learning with virtual reality in education. For one, working in pairs with virtual reality headsets can be a great way to improve vocabulary and descriptive writing skills. While one student explores in VR and describes what they can see, the other student can write it down, creating opportunities for discussion. Beatrix Potter School in London used this lesson format to venture on an under the sea exploration, with students working in pairs to verbally illustrate marine life before ultimately writing a descriptive paragraph.
The group learning possibilities don’t stop there! With tools like Avantis World – the world’s first educational virtual reality theme park – students can collaborate together in the educational metaverse. Whether they’re wearing a VR headset, using a laptop or even learning from home, students can safely explore and communicate in VR scenes together. Anywhere, anytime - you could even have students from different sides of the world walking and talking with dinosaurs together!
5. Blending Virtual Reality with Traditional Learning
Last but definitely not least, blended learning is our final example of virtual reality in education. VR is an incredible learning tool within smart classrooms that we’re confident is the future of education. However, it’s important to remember that VR shouldn’t ever be used to replace a lesson. It's not an alternative to teaching, it’s a powerful educational tool that teachers can use to enhance their pedagogy. Educators can take their teaching to the next level by integrating immersive, educational experiences into lessons.
In Scotland, Mearns Primary School are a great example of how schools can use VR technology alongside traditional learning. After drawing wraparound landscapes in a lesson, their students used 360-degree cameras to capture the creations, annotated them in ThingLink and explored them using VR headsets! By blending traditional teaching with technology, the students could let their imaginations run free while creating their landscapes, then had the opportunity to experience them as if they were real with virtual reality!