Immersive Education

By Katie Figaratto

The year is 2017 and the future is finally upon us. This rings true especially for the future of education, more specifically the tools used to enhance the comprehension of school-taught subjects. This tool I’m talking about is VR, or, virtual reality. VR is a forever developing technology that’s going to have it’s potential fostered and utilized in areas such as healthcare, games, entertainment, and most certainly, education in schools around the world. The essence of VR will motivate and inspire students to collaborate and hone their interdisciplinary skills.

A Northern Arizona University professor had created an organic chemistry lab for students using virtual reality to help students experiment, make mistakes and manipulate molecules to further their comprehension on what methane and other compounds are. There’s also been utilization of virtual reality goggles that connects to phones. With the use of these goggles, students can explore all the different molecules and compounds. It’s much more than just sitting in a class room and hearing rattled off facts about a subject when you can completely immerse yourself in it. The virtual reality goggles also help the students actively engage with organic chemistry, which on it’s own can be a challenging topic to approach. Since virtual reality is all about creating a sense of real space and three-dimensionality, it has helped them to have a better understanding of molecules and how they work.

Through immersive means of education, this is going to be better for students who learn better through more hands-on approaches. Virtual reality is different than textbooks because it’s an experience. People can connect experiences and knowledge more when they are more physically involved, and that’s better for retaining knowledge, thus strengthening the educational experience as a whole.

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