Virtual Reality is not new, in the fifties of the last century there was already “Sensorama”, a system where all the senses were stimulated in a huge machine. Even further back there was the Panorama Mesdag, a 360-degree painting that virtually takes you to another world.

Due to developments in hardware and software, it is now possible to visit realistic worlds with the help of a Virtual Reality headset. You can look around and walk around in another world, even interaction with virtual objects and characters is possible.

Although the focus in the media is often on games with flashy graphics, it is the teaching applications that will transform the real world as we know it. VR is not the future, today this technology is already being used extensively in the classroom and beyond.

Learn a language and culture
You can learn a language in a classroom, the best way to quickly master a language is to immerse yourself in another culture where this language is spoken.

For most people it is not realistic to travel to China for a year, with VR teaching you bring China to your trusted environment. As soon as you place the headset on your head, it looks like you are in a different country, in a different place, with foreign speakers around you.

You hear sounds from all sides, you see signs on the street and you will pick up information faster. Video chat in VR is another way that you can quickly learn a language.

Take AltspaceVR for example, a Virtual Reality app that works on any VR system and is worldwide available for free. You create an Avatar, your digital form, and you make contact with people in a virtual environment.

They can be people you know or new contacts around the world. You can even visit concerts where you are in the audience with other people, where you can chat with directly. Because a lot of English is spoken online, VR chat is an ideal way to practice this language in practice.

Experiment with a safety net
There are static VR presentations and interactive VR experiences. When we take language knowledge as an example of interactive learning, for example, there is Mondly, a learning system in which you enter into conversations with virtual characters.

For example, you are sitting opposite a lady on the train, you choose the language you want to practice and you start a conversation with this digital character.

She asks you a question, you can choose from three answers. You should say this answer out loud, the software will then automatically analyze whether the pronunciation is correct. This way you can have a full conversation. If you do not choose the correct answer, or if the statement is incorrect, simply try again.

You can restart the complete scenario if you want. That is a big advantage of VR teaching, you can practice and repeat without consequences or fear of failure. These types of methods are certainly not limited to language skills; extensive use is already being made of this within the industrial sector.

Enter the virtual time machine

History is a lot closer with Virtual Reality lesson programs. You can watch the gladiatorial fights in the Colosseum live, as if you had been transferred to Professor Barabas’s time machine during that time.

With plain text and an image in a dusty textbook you can learn the information, but you won’t feel it. It is that stimulation of all the senses that help a student understand the situation. Work is currently underway on an app that recreates Anne Frank’s back room in detail. You hear German soldiers searching for Jews behind the wall. In this way the horrors of the war come very close.

Students meet each other online
Even with a package of subjects at school you are not always in class with students at the same level, or with the same interest. With virtual schools, it is possible to combine great people, even when they live far apart. Such a VR school has already been established in Australia.

On weekdays, pupils receive lessons at a normal school, so that they follow social lessons with other children in addition to taking regular lessons. During the weekend they take place in the virtual classroom, and receive lessons from the best specialists in the world. It is not a matter of replacement, but an addition.

Virtual Reality teaching is a new and effective learning tool that will increasingly become education. According to surveys, teachers are predominantly positive about this, and students also.