Virtual reality (VR) is exciting and engaging for students, but for the most part, schools have struggled to find ways to incorporate it into the curriculum. Now, new research reveals one possible impetus for more classroom inclusion.
University of Maryland researchers conducted an in-depth analysis on whether people learn better through virtual and immersive environments versus more traditional platforms such as a two-dimensional desktop computer or handheld tablet.
The researchers found that people remember information better if it is presented to them in a virtual environment. The results of the study were recently published in the journal Virtual Reality.
The findings offer encouraging news for educators who want to explore how VR fits into learning. Although recent survey data shows few teachers are using VR in classrooms, 43 percent of district leaders in small districts want it in their schools, and 20 percent of district leaders say VR is a priority this year.
“This data is exciting in that it suggests that immersive environments could offer new pathways for improved outcomes in education and high-proficiency training,” says Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science and dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at UMD. Varshney leads several major research efforts on the UMD campus involving virtual and augmented reality (AR), including close collaboration with health care professionals interested in developing AR-based diagnostic tools for emergency medicine and virtual reality training for surgical residents.
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