“Virtual Reality In The Classroom: Is Virtual Reality Making a Comeback in Education?” — Anand Timothy | ELearningIndustry
The concept of an alternate existence has been in the talking for generations. Call it time travel or teleporting, we have, at some level, always been fascinated by an experience that allows us to be transported anywhere without actually ‘going’ anywhere. It is the foresight of a few visionaries that has laid the foundation of virtual reality (VR). These few inventors in the 80s and 90s during the personal computing boom believed that this (at that time utopian concept) could become a reality. The population was curious to see what this technology had to offer and virtual reality became a big talking point. However, at that time, the immersive experience that was expected from the digital landscape was missing and virtual reality industry almost went away in the 90s. At that time, another and a more powerful technological revolution was gaining speed… The age of the internet was upon us.
Though virtual reality was not making a lot of noise, technological exploration continued silently in this field. It was from 2012 that technology startups managed to raise more than $1.46 billion in venture capital in virtual reality. Then, two years ago, Palmer Luckey ago put together the Oculus Rift, his own version of the virtual reality headset where the entire experience was far realer and lifelike. Gradually, but surely, the market interest in virtual reality began to increase. Though it was used mainly in gaming, virtual reality made its presence felt in different industries, from military to aviation to learning. Some educationally progressive schools in the US and Europe were charmed by the potential of this technology and tried implementing virtual reality in the classroom. Though the exact statistics of virtual reality in the classroom is not easily available, anecdotal evidence suggests that there was a fair surge of companies that provided virtual reality enabled educational curriculum. One of the most popular and successful models of virtual reality in learning was the World of Comenius project. This project was a biology lesson for a school in the Czech Republic that used a Leap Motion controller and customized Oculus Rift DK2 headset to facilitate innovative scientific learning.