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Virtual Reality 2017-08-09

Virtual Reality brings reality of education alive

Virtual Reality is fast becoming a more preferred way to teach children as the teacher plays the role of a facilitator

By Uttara.J. Malhotra Feature writer

According to a Deloitte report, India would predictably hit its ‘first billion dollar year in 2016 with $700 million in hardware sales, and the remainder from content’. According to Statista and Superdata report, currently, the VR market is between $3bn and $5bn and is expected to grow to approximately $40bn by 2020.

Yes, virtual reality is gradually changing the whole learning experience of the world and India is not behind in enjoying this transformation. Today, the realm of virtual reality has transformed the textbook into a ‘oh-so-real’ experience for students. This has also sped up the learning process. One can attribute this to smooth implementation of 3D immersions and virtual reality technology in huge numbers in school and college classrooms, across educationally progressive schools and learning labs throughout the country.

Teacher-student bond
Today, the teacher is a facilitator, a mediator who is helping in building a bridge between knowledge and the seeker. With the emergence of technology based learning, the cumbersome work of providing data to the student has been considerably reduced. Now, the learning process is making use of virtual and augmented reality and their variations that are making good use of three-dimensional space.

Indeed, ‘Virtual Reality is in many ways enhancing human experiences.’ This is truer in the field of education. ‘By making remarkable experiences available to students, this new era of affordable virtual reality technology is transforming education,’ believe educationists worldwide.

Adds, Ninad Chhaya, COO – WITS Interactive & Co-Founder and COO of GoPhygital, “Virtual Reality is not just a concept anymore, it’s a reality and is here to stay. Virtual Reality can be for everyone. GoPhygital is a startup that is making application based learning and virtual and augmented learning a fun thing for school going children.

The switch and why
“In 2016, the virtual and physical worlds continued to merge, as everyday objects and entire cities became smart and connected to the cloud. In 2017, we foresee the commercial application of this synergy between hardware and software becoming mainstream, offering novel experiences that take users to new heights of sight, sound and touch. This digital revolution will transform how most industries approach ‘experiential’ situations,” says Sandeep Aurora, Director, Marketing and Market Development, Intel South Asia.

Indeed, in such a world dominated by cloud technology, children are definitely enjoying the screen more than faces. That is how they are quick to adapt to a ‘technologically evolving learning mechanism facilitated by virtual reality’.

Takes this a step further and this analogy works well in the teaching- learning process and acts ‘as an advantage when it comes to implementing advanced technologies such as virtual reality in education’. A three-dimension world brings experiences alive which is far more attention capturing and creates brain retention.

Also, subjects that cannot be visualized and probably come from history come alive through the medium of virtual reality. This kind of experiential learning is made possible and fun across age groups. Today, virtual reality is being looked as a preferred mode to keep students ‘more engaged.

Possible examples:

@ Google Expeditions: Through the cardboard VR headset, teachers will take their students on a virtual field trip around the world

@ VR Immersive Education: Experience Apollo 11 VR journey when man first trip on the moon. You can experience this historic event through the eyes of those who lived it. Using original archive audio and film, together with accurate recreations of the spacecraft and locations, the experience educates students about the men and women who worked on the Apollo program during NASA’s golden era.

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