While we’ve been inundated over the past few years with the promises and potentials of virtual reality (VR), it’s been tough to slice through the hype to find facts, especially the kind of trustworthy research on VR adoption, effects, and learning potential educators need. Our new Common Sense research report, Virtual Reality 101: What You Need to Know About Kids and VR, helps bring some clarity by summarizing the existing body of studies.

First things first, VR has yet to be widely adopted. Only 21 percent of households have a headset and one can assume this percentage is far lower for classrooms. Even so, VR continues to fascinate us with its possibility, and it’s especially popular among kids, 70 percent of whom (ages 8 to 15) express interest in it. Since teachers are always looking for new ways to excite students, some innovative, well-supported educators have been experimenting with VR thanks to relatively low cost platforms like Google Cardboard or any of a number of sub-$100 budget headsets.

If you’re one of these pathbreaking educators, or just VR-curious, how can you make sure your lessons are grounded in best practices? Here are five key tips.

5 research-based ways to use #VR for learning

1. Be especially selective when it comes to what students play.
VR can provide students with experiences that feel very much like actual life, especially when it comes to young kids. This means that when it comes to content, you should choose experiences that you’d want your students to have in real life. The good news is that well-chosen, pro-social experiences might help students build key social emotional learning skills.

About the Author:

Tanner Higgin is director, education editorial strategy at Common Sense Education where he leads the editorial team responsible for edtech reviews and teaching strategies. He also serves as the editor for literacy, arts, and social studies resources. Previously, he taught writing and media literacy for six years. Prior to joining Common Sense Education, Higgin worked as a curriculum developer and researcher at GameDesk, helping to design and launch Educade.org and the PlayMaker School.


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