Yesterday I wondered if virtual reality would have a place in the classroom and speculated that there will be some uses and values for this technology - but maybe not just yet. Today I took a look at the 2016 Horizon Report for Higher Education to see what it is predicting for different technologies over the next few years - and VR features too (time to adoption: 2 to 3 years).
Image source: Google Developers.
The report states that "VR constructs provide contextual learning experiences that foster exploration of real world data in virtual surroundings" and reports that Google Cardboard "presents students with the opportunity to construct their own VR content, and more educators are using it because of its accessibility and flexibility". According to the report, "VR has the potential to significantly impact the delivery and content of online education", and gives some examples to prove it.
Stanford University and MIT are already using VR on executive education programmes so that group projects, discussions, and networking can be more easily facilitated. At Penn State, engineering students used VR to assemble an object more efficiently than using a mouse-and-keyboard setup. At North Carolina State University, educators, researchers, and design teams are using VR technologies such as Google Cardboard to better support lab-based and field-based instruction in online learning environments. Wow!
I must confess I had not yet heard of Google Cardboard until today. According to Google Developers it allows users to "build apps that display 3D scenes with binocular rendering, track and react to head movements. Certainly the Cardboard documentation makes for very interesting reading. As the name "Cardboard" suggests, it looks easy to make, and may just be the way VR takes off in education.
Note to self: research Google Cardboard!