VR in the Classroom
Teachers want VR!
In a comprehensive study by Lenovo, data showed a whopping 94% of teachers in the UK think that virtual reality would benefit the classroom, with 42% expecting it to become commonplace in the next five years.
So what does this mean for the future of the classroom?
Although only 23% of teachers have used VR as a teaching aid, 97% found their students to be more engaged in lessons with the use of VR. These figures seem to suggest that VR is not just a gimmick, but a useful tool to be utilised by teachers, particularly when teaching subjects which have not been directly experienced by pupils. Indeed, 36% of teachers admit that they have struggled to make subjects real and relatable, with 42% saying they simply don’t have time to do so. However, 66% believed that VR can solve these problems, with the biggest benefit identified as the ability to bring things to life.
What do teachers want from VR?
Most teachers wanted to take students to explore new worlds, with climbing to the top of everest (67%), seeing moments in history such as the D-Day Beach landings (66%) and exploring wildlife and the natural world (65%) coming out on top. Teachers voted Sciences (27%) and Geography (23%) as the subjects which would benefit most from VR.
Even with the wide range of suppliers of VR and technology within the classroom, teachers still face hurdles to deliver these experiences, with 71% saying budgets are one of the biggest barriers, followed by lack of technology (50%) and time (44%). Despite these problems, 73% of teachers agree that it will be a key facilitator to move classrooms forward into the future, with 55% of teachers of the firm belief that VR will lead to an upturn in grades.
Rich Henderson, director of global education solutions at Lenovo, said: “The research highlights that tech and specifically VR offers endless possibilities when it comes to teaching. Students are no longer bound by classroom walls and teachers are no longer bound by traditional lesson plans. There’s a whole new range of experiences for students to take inspiration from, with three quarters (75%) believing that VR can support blended learning, and embedding it into existing practices will improve the classroom. It’s time to embrace this technology and give teachers the tools they need to inspire the workforce of tomorrow.”
How can teachers get over those hurdles and introduce VR?
Although the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift dominate the high end VR market, there are many other ways in which teachers can deliver high quality content to students, without stretching budgets to the limit. Web-based, multi-platform VR allows pupils to interact with virtual tours on almost any device, meaning significant savings for schools. This flexibility allows teachers to control the lesson, from individual experiences with a Google cardboard, through to a group experience and discussion based around a SmartBoard. Seymour & Lerhn is one such company delivering a wide range of experiences in line with the UK National Curriculum on an affordable subscription basis.
It is clear from the research that VR is an invaluable tool, bringing impossible experiences to life and ultimately helping to sculpt the next generation. With 74% of teachers believing that there will be a positive effect on the design and creativity skills of students, it is certainly an exciting time to be in education!