As new VR technologies emerge, educators at all levels are finding new applications to augment the classroom experience – and for good reason. VR allows educators to move past pages in a textbook to create totally immersive experiences that stimulate and inspire students.
Imagine a social studies teacher leading a discussion about the Taj Mahal, for example. While educators and students used to be bound to traditional experiences like books, handouts, or PowerPoint presentations–now they can use the power of VR to take virtual tours of the monument, walking from space to space and seeing every detail of the carved stone.
The applications for VR in education are truly endless and open up an entirely new way of learning–with lesson formats that can literally bring students back in time for history class or transport them to different galaxies for science.
However, with VR in the classroom on the rise (and even VR-first schools like Optima Domi entering the market), the introduction of new technology always presents new challenges for educators. Just like we saw with the introduction of laptops in the classroom over the past decade, powerful technology has the ability to greatly improve the classroom experience, but also has the potential to be a burden to manage and is at risk of being abused.
So, what does it take to successfully deploy a VR program in the classroom? Let’s take a look at three key factors to consider:
Teachers need easy-to-use platforms
Most educators do not have the time or the technical know-how to manually sideload apps, manage configurations, update devices, or manually track their location and usage–and even if they did, teachers should not have to be part-time IT professionals anyway. However, these are all things that are necessary in a successful VR deployment, and therefore, schools should invest in fun, simple platforms that do not require technical expertise to manage.
The good news is that plenty of easy-to-use technology have entered the market in recent years that make it possible for teachers to spend their time focusing on actual lessons and immersive content rather than figuring out how to manage/configure a bunch of VR devices and apps.
Students require focused experiences
Students need a simple interface that allows them to access content quickly and easily. Whether devices are being used in the classroom or at home, educators need to ensure that students are using the technology appropriately and are not using the headset for anything other than educational purposes. We don’t want students playing video games when they are supposed to be learning, for example. Proper device management plays an important role in ensuring that students have a focused experience, and quality content built for the classroom is needed for a good VR learning environment.
Content control is critical
Educators need to be confident that students only have access to relevant or approved content and that they are not able to load their own content onto the device. Certain device management solutions make it possible to present only approved apps to students, which helps avoid distraction and inappropriate content.
These solutions also allow you to manage every aspect of the VR headset remotely. Device configurations, content updates, tracking, and usage can all be controlled remotely so teachers are not spending classroom time maintaining devices, and students are not wasting time trying to find content. Schools can even put usage guardrails in place to manage when users are able to access device content.
The bottom line is that implementing VR in education should not have to be a chore. Finding good and easy-to-use VR deployment partners will take the frustration out of managing devices for tens, hundreds, or (in the case of Optima Domi) thousands of students and help you create a streamlined experience and take full advantage of all VR has to offer.
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