In their personal lives, today’s students have traded in reading for watching. Whether getting a makeup tutorial on YouTube or learning ways to crack the code of their favorite video game on Twitch, they use screen time to discover new content and expand their horizons.

In the classroom, educators have the choice to fight this trend, or to embrace it. I understand the apprehension many educators have to increase screen time in the classroom, but ignoring students’ own learning preferences and inclinations is doing them a disservice. Video facilitates retention. As studies have shown, that kind of embodied learning can help students better understand the material, and immersive experiences help with retaining information.

Related content: 5 ways to use AR and VR in the classroom

How to use 360-degree video to engage students online and off

I got a real sense for this while attending a virtual reality (VR) conference in Chicago when I put on an HTC Vive headset and was immediately transported onto a NASCAR race track. In the most complex advertisement I’ve ever seen, I was asked to change the race car’s tire and then hand the driver a Big Mac. From those couple of minutes moving around, waving my arms into the blank air, I got a vivid look at the car as I worked my way around it, and that virtual burger is emblazoned in my mind.

About the Author:

Mfon Akpan is an assistant professor of business at National Louis University in Chicago. He was originally inspired by the game Second Life, and began thinking about how VR could be applied in a game-like setting to teach auditing and accounting practices in an applied environment. Akpan is on the Education Committee of the VRAR Association, and gave a TedX presentation in 2018.


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