Many teachers have long struggled to bring lessons to life in the classroom. While science teachers benefit from being able to demonstrate scientific principles through exciting experiments, how does a history teacher bring to life ancient Rome? How could an English teacher better illustrate Shakespeare and his era? How could a Math teacher captivate students when teaching about the quadratic formula?
Virtual Reality seems to offer a solution to all of these problems. Not only does VR allow you to step into alternate realities, distant worlds, or recreations of the past – but it also offers the opportunity to feel objects in these virtual worlds.
Through the use of haptic censors, VR is beginning to unlock physical sensations while in a virtual world. Users can pick up objects, manipulate items, and create things all while feeling as if it is really happening. Are you grabbing a ball? Haptic feedback in your specialized gloves will mimic the feeling of a ball in your hand. Are you holding a sword before a battle? Haptic feedback embedded in a specialized suit could trick you into feeling the weight of a sword in your hand.
Obviously, these breakthroughs hold promise for classrooms as well. History could come to life as students step backwards into time to witness the American Revolution – seeing, hearing, and feeling objects all around them. English students could step into Shakespeare’s study, watching him write a poem, hearing the stroke of his pen on parchment, even wetting the quill of his pen for him when it runs dry. Math students could manipulate shapes within VR, learning how angles, lines, and line segments interact with each other.
Virtual Reality holds unlimited promise for the educational system. Perhaps using VR in more classrooms could improve outcomes for more students. With all of the potential benefits being offered, it’s certainly worth considering.