Education has the potential to be completely transformed by virtual reality (VR) technology. A lesson about Mars can become a virtual trip to the red planet. Rather than having students read the Gettysburg Address, they can stand in the crowd to hear ol’ Abe give his speech.
These fully immersive virtual reality experiences can be exciting, self directed and memorable. Studies suggest that information delivered through VR is more easily absorbed and retained.
The statistics below show there is serious interest from both students and teachers alike in trying out VR experiences. Technology and experiences created specifically for the educational market are growing thanks to investment flowing into the sector.
Here are some of the most important statistics that show the impact that virtual reality will have on education both this year and in the future.
Almost 80% of teachers have access to virtual reality devices, but these are only being used by about 6.87% of teachers.
The cost of virtual reality has fallen dramatically, especially in regards to smartphone headsets like Google Cardboard. But while access to virtual reality technology has become very widespread, consistent use of these devices by teachers is lagging. Teachers may not yet be fully convinced of the benefits of VR technology for their students, or are unfamiliar with how to implement this tech into the classroom.
93% of teachers say that their students would be excited to use virtual reality
While teachers may not yet be widely using VR technology, most appear to be convinced that there would be interest in VR from their students. As the statistic above points out teachers overwhelmingly think that students would be excited about VR. This enthusiasm for VR technology appears to offer a fresh way of engaging students.
7 out 10 teachers want to use VR to stimulate experience relevant to the material being covered
One of the biggest demands for VR in the classroom is to provide experiences which directly support the material that is being taught. Developers of education VR should consider the benefits of developing experiences which reflect and support the existing curriculum, rather than creating exotic standalone experiences.
By 2025 VR tech in education could be a $700 million industry
While gaming and entertainment have been the primary recipients of investment for VR technology, education looks to offer equally fertile territory. The educational technology market is huge, so there is plenty of opportunity of VR edtech startups.
69% of teachers would like to use VR to allow their students to visit distant locations
Virtual reality allows students to experience distant locations that would be far too expensive for a standard field trip.For example with VR students can take a virtual trip to Rome to tour the colosseum or visit the Taj Mahal in India. But VR can also enable students to visit locations that would otherwise be possible for them to see. That could be a trip to the depths of the ocean or exploring distant planets.
The difference that VR could have on education goes beyond simply improving test scores or increasing technical skills.
There is good evidence to suggest that the experience of VR is very different to other types of learning. When we experience material in VR we actually feel as if it is happening to us. This creates an emotional connection to the subject we are being taught.
The impact of this could be enormous. From studying civil rights history to the impact of environmental degradation, VR could lead to more engaged, informed and passionate students.