Say goodbye to school libraries that are little more than dusty rows of books. Slowly but surely, they’re becoming “maker spaces” where kids learn through hands-on tools and technologies. Schools are stocking these spaces with virtual reality, everything from Raspberry Pis to 3D printers to LEGO building stations.
The latest technology to find its way into schools’ maker spaces? Virtual reality. Without leaving the library or classroom, students using VR can take “field trips” across the world and throughout time. One teacher reported that she used the WWI Trench Experience app as part of her history lesson. Other teachers have used the technology to explain alternative energy sources.
VR experiences aren’t just fun and games, either. A 2008 study published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences found that multisensory learning is significantly more effective than unisensory learning. VR also has the potential to help students empathize with others and gain context for what they learn in the classroom.
But because VR is young and school budgets are stretched thin, some educators are waiting to adopt it until more content is available. In fact, Extreme Networks found that 47% of educators consider a lack of content to be their biggest barrier to adoption — more than any other factor. The survey also found, however, that 55 percent of them hope to use it in the future.
Content producers, listen up: Students and educators aren’t necessarily looking for better hardware or lower prices on VR gear. Before they buy in, they want more experiences.
What Students and Teachers Want
Not just any VR experience belongs in the classroom. Be sure that anything you build is accessible and easy to integrate into lesson plans. The Extreme Networks study found that 43 percent of educators see complex implementation as a major barrier, nearly as many as those who cited a lack of content.
So what kinds of content are teachers looking for?