Is VR becoming a classroom reality?

BETT

The Bett Global Series brings world-class events presenting the latest, most innovative products, services and insight to the global education community. They embrace ideas that will inspire the future of education and, through technology and solutions, will make huge advancement possible. At Bett events, educators, tech experts, government officials and entrepreneurs come together to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the role technology and innovation plays in enabling all educators and learners to thrive.

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From virtual reality (VR) field trips to virtual campus tours to aid recruitment, the future of education is one filled with exciting and untold possibilities. The Innovation Index survey, carried out by an independent party and commissioned by Bett, consisted of extensive research into the UK and EU education market, with responses from over 1,700 educators. There was a strong consensus on the benefits of edtech among 87% of the educators surveyed. Findings revealed that VR is not only here to stay; it’s set to become the ‘next-big-thing’ in the classroom, with headsets being considered by nearly a quarter of institutions.

The rise of mixed realities such as VR and AR closes the gap between methodical teaching innovations and physical tech in schools, with educators now looking to adopt cutting-edge tech, despite the current budgetary constraints - if it delivers the right outcomes for learners.

This year at Bett we caught up with Nikos Samiotis (EMEA workstations program lead) from HP. While presenting at the show, he shared ‘Project Mars’, demonstrating how European students are enabling life on Mars with VR. We asked Nikos what he sees as the most important factors to consider when bringing VR technology into the classroom…

Nikos Samiotis

What kind of advice would you give to an educator who would like to integrate virtual reality into the classroom?

“The best advice when integrating this technology is that they experience VR first, because X reality (XR, which can be virtual or augmented) can affect education in two different ways. It can extend the way we are learning within education today, or it can be a separate learning curriculum for students, especially in universities and in STEM universities. The best way to integrate this kind of technology into schools and universities is for educators themselves to become familiar with it, and understand what VR is.”

What kind of challenges would an educator expect to find when implementing VR, and how can they overcome them?

“Education is very elegant and sensitive - it’s not easy to introduce a different way of learning, or to deploy a new learning curriculum. It requires a lot of thinking, and a lot of digging in, to see if it is appropriate based on the learning curriculum that you are providing. To bring VR into your classrooms, you need to find a trusted advisor; someone who can show you how to either bring VR into your existing curriculum, or reshape your curriculum around VR - and feel comfortable doing it. That’s the biggest challenge, but if you can overcome that, VR can be something that becomes a part your school’s daily activities.”

Will you take the leap, and immerse yourself and your students into the world of VR? To read more about the findings and trends for the year ahead, download our full Innovation Index report.

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