AR/VR in Education: Revolutionizing the Education System
We’re living in a digital age where technology has had a transformative effect on the way we live and work. Slowly and steadily, technology has been making strides in revolutionizing methods of learning and teaching. Technology-enabled curriculum and smart boards have long replaced traditional blackboards and two-dimensional textbook images. As we move into the next generation of media transformation, AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are becoming the hottest topics in education technology. Before we understand their impact on education and learning, let’s look at what these technologies are.
What is AR and VR?
When we first hear the words AR and VR, the first thought that comes to mind is games. This is because AR and VR technology has been extensively used in the gaming arena. Remember the popularity of the AR game “Pokemon GO” which became a worldwide sensation with over 100 million users at its peak in 2016. The game used Augmented Reality, also known as AR. Augmented Reality is the result of using technology to superimpose digital elements — sounds, images, and text to the world we see using a tablet, smart eyeglass or a smartphone camera. Virtual reality is significantly more complex with an immersive, three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. Instead of projecting the images and sounds on a real environment, virtual reality uses a VR headset to immerse users on the 360-degree environment they want to be in.
VR and AR in Education
The education industry has typically been slow in embracing new technologies. However, in this ever-changing world, it’s vital that the industry implement new technologies such as AR and VR to stay relevant. By creating an immersive and interactive learning experience without the use of textbooks, AR and VR technology empowers learners to explore and learn at their own pace, thus stimulating learning and comprehension and enhances critical retention. VR and AR-based apps for education, that combine digital technologies and learning, improve the educational process and allow students to acquire information visually. These technologies provide a solid base to improve the education process. For example, a learner can learn about jungle animals by taking an expedition through a digital jungle using a smartphone app, simple cardboard VR glasses and earphones. Without having to step out of the classroom or their home, students are exposed to completely new and active learning environments. Teachers could teach subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology through virtual labs that not just keeps students engaged but also allows them to practice before they can test the experiments in real laboratories. Students of medicine can study the precision of anatomy, learn the intricacies of surgery and simulate medical situations for practice.
Source – https://www.teachthought.com/
Here are some of the key benefits of using AR and VR technology in education and learning.
- Facilitates student learning through gamification and interactivity
- Keeps students engaged even while learning difficult topics
- Enhances creative thinking
- Fewer distractions
- Fosters increased collaboration
- Can be used for practical training
- Expanded teaching possibilities with 3D design, modeling, and presentations
While VR can deliver the wholesome experience, AR in education can be used as a supplementary tool to textbook learning. No wonder, from giants like Google and Microsoft to startups such as EON Reality, Nearpod and Unimersiv, have been focused on providing tailored VR experiences. In India, companies are integrating AR/VR technologies for nursery to eighth-grade curriculums for children mapping the AR/VR journeys with course content for various subjects.
AR and VR Technology: Challenges
Some of the common challenges of using augmented reality technology is that there’s a struggle to use the new technologies by teachers. Moreover, not all students have the smartphones capable of supporting AR content. Virtual Reality, on the other hand, faces completely different challenges. High costs of hardware, accessibility and lack of quality content are some of the constraints that have kept VR from being the breakthrough technology in education.
AR/VR in Education: Next Steps
According to a report by Goldman Sachs, in 2020 the revenue for VR/AR educational software would be around $300 million and this figure is expected to grow to $700 million by 2025. As investments continue to rise, the quality of content improves and the cost of hardware decreases, the technology is now accessible to educational institutes worldwide. The AR/VR technology has the potential of being the biggest breakthrough in the education system in the 21st century. It would help students take a step away from memorization and exams and allow them to learn through active participation and experience. It’s important that the educational institutions study aspects of AR and VR technology to find the right tools to make the difference in the learning experience of students.