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How Augmented and Virtual Reality Can Improve the Classroom

The struggle to keep students engaged in a lesson isn't a new issue. Every teacher has struggled with keeping more than one student's attention. Teachers have needed to be increasingly creative in retaining their students' interests. Over time, however, technology and education have been combined to create new ways to catch a student's curiosity. This technology can be applied in many different ways and help improve the quality of the classroom.

Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Scientists have conducted multiple studies that show how augmented, and virtual reality can benefit a classroom. Augmented reality is already being utilized in higher education institutes. For example, students can use augmented reality to simulate surgeries in medical schools and make more accurate medical diagnoses. 

Education technology has been used to enhance the experience of science, humanities, and art students. These are areas that easily integrate augmented and virtual reality. The truth is that augmented and virtual reality can benefit all students in every subject.

It may seem that augmented or virtual reality will not be beneficial in all areas of education, but this doesn't mean we shouldn't give it a chance.

Using Augmented and Virtual Reality with Traditional Teaching

Augmented reality offers students more interactive experiences, enhances and promotes collaboration, improves motivation, and increases learning gains. However, this means that the technology needs to be integrated correctly into the classroom.

It's essential to recognize that augmented or virtual reality isn't meant to replace any traditional teaching methods. It is just the opposite. This technology is intended to complement what is already provided. Each student learns differently, and many still benefit from traditional teaching methods. Augmented or virtual reality gives the students who struggle with traditional teaching an alternative version of learning that will help them succeed.

A New Form of Learning

There are already various books published meant to work with augmented reality teaching. If instructors provide such books to the students, they can scan the book pages and see them come to life on their phones. Having a new way to view course material can increase students' motivation to do the coursework. Students will most likely become enthusiastic about this new way of learning as it enlivens their senses and allows them to see the coursework in a new light.

Several companies have even developed augmented and virtual reality tech to help students with disabilities. This tech comes in the form of interactive flashcards for the deaf, specific programs for special education, simulations to practice social skills, and practicing regulating emotions.

Students can manipulate enhanced elements in the curriculum through augmented reality, hopefully leading to deeper learning and a better academic experience.

Other Resources for Augmented and Virtual Reality

Besides available books, quite a few other resources are already available to introduce augmented reality to the classroom. For example:

  • The Smithsonian Institution has a repository of 3D models open to anyone. These models allow students to view specific exhibits in actual physical surroundings on a mobile device. It gives students a better idea of the material scale. Students can also interact with the model while learning about science and history.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has created multiple augmented and virtual reality items that we can use in a classroom. These items allow students to experience living on a space station. These creations include 360° videos that students can view on a headset, computer, or mobile device. NASA even developed a virtual reality program that permits students to see a space launch.

Become Educated on Virtual and Augmented Learning

If you feel hesitant or uncertain of the positive effects of virtual and augmented learning, you need to experiment with the tools yourself. The New York Times has developed 360° videos and step-by-step instructions for teachers who may not have experience including augmented or virtual reality tools in their lessons.

Quite a few companies have developed augmented and virtual reality platform segments for the classroom, and you can use these programs in K-12 classrooms.

Final Thoughts

Every student learns differently, which is why educators are constantly developing new curriculums to help students succeed. If used correctly and in conjunction with traditional teaching methods, augmented and virtual reality can enhance the classroom and boost the learning that each student experiences while also having fun exploring their world from the safety of their classroom.

Written by Jenika Woodward
Education World Contributor
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