Now that virtual reality headsets are available for the general public, they are used in a variety of industries and for different target groups. VR and AR are also increasingly used for teaching purposes. The number of applications and possibilities for virtual reality in schools is increasing rapidly, what will this emerging technology mean for teaching?

There are various terms that are often presented under the name “virtual reality” but in practice they work very differently. These are the most common terms:

  • Virtual Reality: This is an environment that is displayed entirely by computer. You can look around freely with a headset. You can also manipulate this world with special controllers.
  • Augmented Reality: A layer is placed on reality that seamlessly connects with what you see. It is not comparable with image-in-image, the new layer takes into account the perspective of the viewer. You also need a headset for this.
  • 360 Panorama; This is a photo or a video that is displayed in a cylindrical form, making it look like you are at that location yourself. You can look around completely.
  • Mixed Reality: a combination of real and fictional, this often applies to AR.

Virtual Reality teaching

In the classroom with a headset on your head, it doesn’t seem like the best way to promote collaboration. Research has shown the opposite; By having students work in groups with VR headsets, they learn to work better together. There are more and more professional teaching programs that are put together based on proven material. In addition, there is a wide range of panorama photos and video clips that allow you to travel around the world from the classroom.

Remote learning with VR

You don’t even have to go to school to attend class. There are various online virtual reality teaching classrooms where students can participate in lessons individually or in groups. This is possible with a panorama camera in the classroom, or pre-produced and interactive lesson modules that you can follow with a (cheap) headset.

Costs and benefits of VR teaching

A professional set with a headset and PC can easily cost several thousand euros and requires considerable technical knowledge. Schools that want to get acquainted with VR and AR often opt for a smartphone with holder. They are portable and work without cables. The total costs including smartphone are then hundreds of euros, if you do not count the smartphone you can get started for a few euros. A lot of software can be downloaded for free. 

Virtual Reality has become a mass product, you can buy headsets at the Action and save VR images at the Albert Heijn. More and more developers are designing educational learning materials with the help of VR and AR. After the schoolbook and the PC, VR is a new and effective teaching tool for education.