Technology progress influences the way kids learn, and it’s constantly changing. Internet, smartphones, and apps have connected people globally without caring about the distance. Within seconds you can communicate with anybody anywhere. Virtual reality has taken it a step further. Now it’s possible to visit these faraway places or go back in time without moving an inch. Technology, like virtual reality apps, has brought the real world into the classroom and once again, changing how kids learn.
With most kids owning a cell phone, these virtual reality educational apps are becoming easily accessible in the classroom. No longer limited to pictures and maps in a book, these apps allow kids to experience it visually as if they are there.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality means near-reality.
Reality is what you experience as a human being through your five senses. The brain receives the information from your five senses and interprets it as the reality of the physical world you live in.
Virtual means near, replicated, or very close to the real thing. Virtual computing uses software to have something appear real although it doesn’t exist physically. The virtual reality apps supply information to your senses as if it is real. The brain doesn’t discern between the reality and this made-up reality that triggered a sensory reaction. To the brain, it is “real.” Hence virtual reality.
Why is Virtual Reality Important in Education?
The main benefit of virtual reality is providing experiences that would otherwise be impossible because of time, distance, and finances. In education, virtual reality simulations help kids learn by experimenting as if it is real.
The way virtual reality apps transform lessons into practical applications, can inspire students to participate and engage more and thereby improve the students learning experience. By participating, the student can grasp and understand concepts quicker than they would’ve under traditional classroom conditions.
Virtual reality, however, shouldn’t replace traditional teaching methods; it complements traditional teaching by enhancing the learning experience in a fun way. The human connection that traditional teaching offers is lacking in virtual reality apps. For example, the virtual reality app can’t ask questions, adjust to the student’s response, or notice that the child’s lack of response may be because they aren’t feeling well.
One example of how virtual reality complements traditional teaching is with immersive visualization. In algebra, for instance, using virtual objects will help explain complex algebraic problems in a way traditional teaching can’t.
We’ve compiled a list of 18 virtual reality apps to give as examples of how virtual reality apps can be used in the classroom.
18 Virtual Reality Apps for the Classroom
Virtual Reality Field Trips
- Discovery Education Virtual Reality Trips. Exploring geography, reliving history, and experimenting with science virtually by taking students to amazing places on the planet. These virtual field trips align with schoolwork taught in the classroom.
- Discovery VR for Cardboard. Immerse students in exciting adventures in exploring places, interacting with animals and discovering nature.
- Google Expeditions. With minimum setup, teachers can guide students through collections of virtual scenes in exploring the world, its history, the arts, and science.
- ThingLink VR Lessons. Arts, language and interactive science lessons designed for elementary school students.
- Titans of Space 2.0. Customize the self-paced in-depth tour of the solar system. The reduced scale to a millionth of the actual sizes present facts about over 40 celestial bodies.
- Labster Virtual Lab. A simulated virtual reality laboratory allows students to practice experiments before they use real-life equipment and resources.
- CoSpaces. The student doesn’t need special technical skills to build their own virtual reality content. Creating VR projects develops skills (creativity, storytelling, memorizing, public speaking, building models) while using new technology.
- MEL Chemistry VR Lessons. Construct atoms and build molecules for a better understanding of science. The 28 virtual reality lessons cover the school chemistry curriculum.
- PrepMagic. Connect abstract STEM concepts interactively and experientially with real-world content.
Explaining Math and Difficult Concepts
- Math Learning VR. Colorful VR animations teach younger children the foundations of math.
- CalcFlow. Visualize mathematical concepts. Interactively explore and manipulate vectors. Be daring and create your own parameterized function and vector field.
- Times Table VR. Learn the times-tables by popping balloons with gaze-control.
- VR Math. An interactive application to help students understand geometry, graphs, and vectors by seeing it virtually 3D.
Stimulating Creativity and Arts
- Quiver. A 3D Color-in app with educational properties. The colored-in pages uniquely come to life.
- Boulevard. Explore and interact with artworks up close and visit some of the world’s best art museums.
- Tilt Brush. From artists to doodlers painting life-size in 3D space with a virtual palette is an unforgettable experience.
Improving Language and Speech Skills
- Google Translate. By pointing the camera at an image, the text is translated in real time into 38 different languages.
- Public Speaking VR. Prepare for class presentations with immersive virtual reality environments.
Do you use virtual reality apps in your classroom? What are your top virtual reality apps? If we missed one of your favorites, tell us about it.