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Teachers say virtual reality would boost engagement

By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
July 26th, 2016

A new survey reveals that while more than half of teachers want to use virtual reality, very few do

virtual reality

A large majority of K-12 teachers said they would like to integrate virtual reality in their classrooms, but just 2 percent of teachers have actually done so, according to a survey.

Sixty percent of surveyed teachers said they would like virtual reality to become a part of their students’ learning experience, according to the study from Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and GfK. The study was released at ISTE 2016 in late June.

The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. K-12 teachers revealed that 86 percent of those surveyed said they feel it is a challenge to keep students engaged in curriculum, even with existing classroom technology.

Ben Lloyd, a technology teacher at Beaverton School District in Oregon, uses virtual reality with his eighth-grade students and said the technology played an important part in developing things to help students meet their learning targets.

“It’s definitely engaging for the students,” Lloyd said. “Without any direction, the kids would probably be interested in playing games in virtual reality, but giving them a few tools to do educational things–the kids are all about that, and they love creating something and showing their classmates.”

Nearly all surveyed teachers (93 percent) said their students would be excited to use virtual reality, and 83 percent said virtual reality could have a positive influence on learning outcomes. Those improved outcomes include better understanding of learning concepts (77 percent), greater collaboration (71 percent), and motivation in the classroom (84 percent).

 

“We decided we’d experiment with content creation,” Lloyd said. Some students stitched photos together on a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and loaded the smartphone into the Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headset. Lloyd purchased one headset with a DonorsChoose.org mini-grant, and two students in his class purchased their own headsets.

During a video unit, students recorded stereoscopic video with a two-camera view and watched it through the virtual reality headset for a 3D effect. Students also explored app development and designing and viewing 3D models. Lloyd said he gave students enough direction to keep them on task, but also enough flexibility to allow for exploration.

Next page: Additional survey findings


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