Friday, December 13, 2019
Education/TrainingVirtual Reality

Can Virtual Reality Improve Science Education?

Virtual reality gives educators new teaching mediums for science education.

 

Not too long ago, all educators needed to impart knowledge were a blackboard and some chalk. As the last few years have proven, technology affects nearly every industry. The education sector isn’t immune to the disruption of revolutionary innovations, including virtual reality.

Teachers have been utilizing videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other interactive teaching mediums to appeal to younger generations. Through special equipment, VR takes users into a computer-generated space that they can interact with. With each passing year, the technology inches closer to mainstream adoption.

Let’s take a closer look at how virtual learning enhances science education.

The Importance of Virtual Reality in the Classroom

An immersive approach to teaching science could make learning fun. But beyond that, it can potentially be an effective aid in teaching.

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The rise of virtual reality has come at a very opportune time. As the world continues to face challenges such as climate change, water shortages, poverty, and diseases, it’s imperative that we start educating the youth about them.

VR can help educators teach the youth about the global challenges that many continue to turn a blind eye to. It inspires future generations of scientists and leaders who can change the way we address such pressing issues.

The Future of Science Education

Labster is one platform that’s seeking to enhance science education. It gives students access to hyper-realistic lab equipment. Furthermore, it allows them to perform experiments in a risk-free simulated environment.

Currently, thousands of universities across Denmark utilize this VR-driven technology. It engages and inspires students to pursue programs in the sciences. As it comes with a progress tracker, it enables students to take full control of their learning. In addition, it prepares future generations for the real world.

Another company that’s developing immersive lab simulations is PraxiLabs. The company designs virtual labs for biology, chemistry, and physics classes, where students can perform all kinds of experiments safely. They create enriching experiences that fit various learning styles. Not only that, but they also provide study aids that come in different multimedia formats to help students excel.

In a study on virtual learning, researchers compared students who used VR headsets with a group that used desktops. First, both groups were asked to access science simulations on their respective devices. Then, they were given a multiple-choice quiz. Both groups saw similar results. However, they varied in terms of laboratory performance.

Two weeks after the simulation, the respondents were asked to conduct an experiment in a real laboratory. Students who had used VR performed significantly better compared to the ones who hadn’t. Research shows that virtual laboratories supplement learners’ real lab experiences.

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Another study found that virtual simulations in high school classrooms enhance student knowledge significantly compared to traditional approaches. It suggested that VR has the capacity to spark students’ passions for STEM topics. Furthermore, it found that virtual science learning motivates students to pursue STEM-related careers.

So Can VR Improve Science Education?

Certainly, it’s too early for us to definitively say that virtual reality can improve science education. But no doubt—VR has the potential to transform classroom learning as we know it. VR makes learning fun and interesting.

Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing.