Reinforcing Research

Reinforcing Research

Kai Castle, Section Reporter

Virtual reality, the best and baddest thing on the market right now. We see all the YouTubers and video games coming out with support for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or the Sony Playstation VR, but are video games the only use for them?

People around the world have come up with wonderful uses of virtual reality, spanning from video games to astronomy. Some of the uses seem practical, and others don’t, but one of the greatest ways people have figured out to use VR is in education. Now any person may be wondering about how virtual reality can beat books and tests, which is crazy for them to be asking, but in VR, students have unlimited access to any object or machine in it, as long as it has been programmed into the field. When you have access to the objects you are learning about, and the ability to experiment with them, it makes it far easier to understand. For example, if I told someone that there are stars larger to ours, it may seem a hard to imagine. With VR, people are able to have a better scale that they can modify themselves. This gives the person learning a better and more understandable scale than what he or she sees in pictures.

On the website, it states: ‘“Virtual reality is a very powerful educational system,” said Garrigan “Just as we learn very rapidly through hands-on activities or watching someone do something in real life, those things can be modeled in VR in ways that are more powerful than reading about it or watching a film. It can be interactive.’” At Lehigh University, a professor of teaching, learning, and technology, known as Scott Garrigan, is leading the study of virtual reality on students. The pilot experiment exposes four students to environments in VR, while four will be exposed to environments on video monitors. The students will then write down their experiences in the environments. The responses will be studied for detail, readability, word count, and speed of writing.

This is the next great advancement in learning and technology. Teachers everywhere will  soon be able to show students what they mean when they describe the clothes of a Revolutionary War soldier or even the terrain of Mars. Now the only next advancement in this field is to find a way to make it cheaper!