Once relegated to the world of video games and entertainment, it seems that virtual reality is gaining recognition for its more practical applications. Retailers have already embraced the platform as a way to provide interactive experiences with products to compensate for the tactile deficiencies of shopping from home, but VR’s potential extends well beyond simple marketing. Just as video games found a home in education, so too is VR finding establishing a respected place among academia.
While use is far from widespread, there is tremendous interest among both teachers and students for combining VR and education. Tech company Samsung carried out an extensive survey that found 93 percent of teachers believed their students would welcome VR in the classroom, while 83 percent felt it would improve learning. The survey was targeted at teachers from kindergarten all the way through to high school, showing that there is demand for the tech throughout all levels of the public education system.
While K-12 educators are only just seeing the potential of VR, it has already found a home among institutions of higher learning. Oral Roberts University, together with virtual and augmented reality company EON Reality, established the Global Learning Center, a VR-dedicated learning facility that uses digital spaces to better educate students in a range of subjects. EON Reality CEO Mats W. Johansson has expressed his desire to form partnerships with other universities to develop more education VR programs and the company is already working to establish additional centers in the Dominican Republic and New York City.