5 ways virtual reality is being used in education right now

By Meris Stansbury, Managing Editor, @eSN_Meris
October 17th, 2016

New polls, studies delve into how educators and researchers are using VR

virtual reality

Considering Sony Playstation’s VR headset sold out in pre-order last week, most of us are aware that virtual reality (VR) technology is hot right now. But outside of just hearing about the hype, what is education actually doing with this technology—if anything?

A new survey from Extreme Networks aimed to answer this question by polling nearly 350 schools within higher ed and K-12. According to the results, 23 percent of respondents have tested VR, while 77 percent have not (40 percent of schools polled still aren’t sure if they’ll use the technology in the future). Meaning that although virtual reality has an important and growing role in education, it may take several years to get all institutions on board.

The survey notes that one challenge to implementation is that nearly two-thirds of schools are “somewhat or not sure” their IT infrastructure can currently support VR technology.

Respondents also had concerns about the lack of VR content available, as well as a lack of student resources, with 43 percent of respondents saying that VR is too expensive or difficult to implement. However, one respondent is taking this approach to providing VR to students at low or no cost: “We are putting out a call for old smartphone donations in our [community for those] who no longer need them. With the donations, we’re making sets of Google Cardboard and phones to create traveling VR stations for classes in all of our buildings.”

Yet, even though current use is still at a small percentage, over half the schools surveyed report that they are actively investigating VR for classroom use, with 23 percent of schools reporting that they have tested or tried VR.

And for those pioneering educators and researchers, the uses for VR may be more diverse than the general public may think.

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