Using Virtual Reality to Provide the Benefits of Learning | Technology

Using Virtual Reality to Provide the Benefits of Learning | Technology
Using Virtual Reality to Provide the Benefits of Learning 

Providing the Benefits of Learning with Virtual Reality

For more than a decade, I've been working with PK-8 classrooms throughout southern New Jersey to integrate the technology.  From projectors and smartboards to pencils and touchpads, we have seen so much development in technology in education.  One of the recent learning technologies that I'm excited about is virtual reality and the learning benefits it offers.  It turns lessons into the video-game-like environment many students are already familiar with and love – one of the many benefits of technology in the classroom for today's students.

Recent research projects a 36 percent annual growth rate of virtual reality - in education alone - from $6.37 billion in 2021 to $8.66 billion in 2022.  This is a great way of saying that virtual reality is a great resource for introducing integration into teaching and learning.

In recent days, we've been spending time discussing hardware, learning software, and how to build multimedia projects.  Today, virtual reality and other technology empowers students and allows collaboration across time zones and languages.  Virtual reality transports students from their seats to locations across the planet (and the universe).  I think students in my partner districts want to use VR because it's cool and exciting - a huge win for student engagement.

Here are two virtual reality resources I recommend and how they boost students' learning benefits.

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Open-world, Virtual Reality game

Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE) takes the immersive world of Minecraft and adds collaboration tools, classroom controls, and more to an open-world game where students can really tap their imagination.  It can be used on Windows, iPad and Chromebook.  Students who are not familiar with it can access a tutorial "world" that will teach them how to use it.

Teachers can control the environment, directing students to learn in specific locations while also providing places for them to explore.  This collaborative sandbox game works well with open-ended projects where students build their understanding and create their own adventures.

For example, a middle-school teacher assigned students a pre-history project, asking them to learn about the culture, lifestyle, and historical boundaries and properties of that period.  Subsequent students had to build an entire pre-history village using only materials that would have been available during that time.

They were able to use M:EE and its integrated learning platform, which allowed students to demonstrate creativity and show evidence of learning through self-created resources.  The students discussed the authenticity of their creations with their team, defending their choices as to the world they created.  The teacher facilitated a rich debate on the types of building blocks, smelting techniques and sustainable materials in his designs.  Embedded and customizable quizzes enhance the learning of a lesson plan even more.

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Creative Cloud helps you learn more

I hear all the time from teachers that their students want to share about what they created and how they solved problems creatively.  Now, teachers can create that part of the above pre-history project by asking students to prepare a presentation of their work.  I like to use Adobe Creative Cloud Express, which provides graphics, webpages, and videos.

The platform features templates and easy-to-use visual editing tools that allow students to put together presentations and display screenshots they've taken while building pre-history projects.  They can add text explanations and effects, upload their own designs, and import videos to showcase their projects.

Students then describe their understanding of the subject matter as they present their collaboration in the classroom and reflect on the experience, process, road map and artifacts chosen to represent their village.  This presentation shows how much virtual reality has helped them learn.

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Virtual Reality is no longer inaccessible

Virtual reality can now be incorporated into classroom lessons in many ways.  Various instruments offer museum tours, tours inside the human body, foreign language experiences and night sky views.

I use any technical tool I can to ignite my students' curiosity, inspire them to work together, and tailor their learning in a way that turns them into subject-matter experts.  Engaging such students and improving their understanding of subjects is one of our main goals as teachers.

Source: Michelle Wendt, Smart Brief, Direct News 99