There are a number of innovative technologies rapidly changing the world as we know it, in a wide variety of industries. Artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, is already taking over many jobs in customer service, healthcare, and manufacturing, and it’s expected to replace millions of other jobs over the next few decades. But after AI, virtual reality is the next big technology to focus on.
Virtual reality (VR) is proving to have more applications than we ever imagined, and it’s currently making an impact in the retail, gaming, and business worlds. But it has the power to completely reshape society as we know it, including how we receive our education at all stages of life. Who says learning should stop once you’ve reached a certain age? Here are a few of the ways that virtual reality will transform education in our everyday life:
Want to take a course in a subject of interest, or learn a new skill to aid you in your career goals? In the near future, we might be more commonly educated in virtual classrooms, all from the comfort of our homes. VR classes are more convenient for those who are working full time or have other responsibilities to attend to, while having the bonus of being more interesting, engaging, and immersive than typical online schooling. Who says adults can’t have fun while learning?
In fact, virtual classrooms already exist, and are currently a great supplement to physical classrooms. As VR improves, we’ll likely see virtual classrooms become more common due to all of the educational possibilities they have for developing new skills, offering new perspectives, and experiencing situations that would otherwise be impossible — among so much more.
VR as a Teaching Tool
There’s no doubt that virtual reality is quickly taking over education. ClassVR, for example, offers students of all ages VR and AR educational content to supplement their physical classroom experience. It can help them to get a practical idea of what their future employment might be like by allowing them to virtually experience the perspective of a longtime employee or else aid them in training for a specific position. Students could learn what it’s like to work in a busy news station or as an at-home nurse.
VR is an incredible resource for higher education students, particularly for those in scientific fields like medicine and engineering. For example, a medical student could take a virtual tour of the human body, practice a major surgical procedure, or get an early feel for what a “typical” day is like in their field. And engineers could work in a virtual environment that allows them to test or upgrade their designs in a safe and efficient manner.
One of virtual reality’s best educational uses is virtual tourism. Instead of physically traveling the world — which can get very expensive! — people can virtually travel to places that they would otherwise not be able to visit, such as a foreign country or museum. For example, Google Arts & Culture offers a number of virtual tours for anyone who wants to supplement lessons in history, art, or other subjects, or even just learn about something new. You could look at the Asian art of the Singapore Art Museum or tour the ancient temples of Sicily’s Valle Dei Templi. VR offers incredible, immersive once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will one day become the norm, particularly in the education realm.
Virtual travel can inspire people of all ages to get more excited about the world and learning about other cultures. Plus, it evens the playing field for people of all economic backgrounds. Someone who can’t afford to travel physically can instead travel the world virtually, partaking in many of the same experiences as those who can afford to travel in person.
Virtual reality has an incredible number of uses in education, and has the power to completely transform how we’re educated at all stages of life. One thing is for sure: learning just got a whole lot more exciting!