Teachers Like Virtual Reality, But Few Classrooms Use It

VR

Want to go on a field trip?

Instead of taking a trip across town to the local apple farm or petting zoo, today’s students are heading halfway across the globe to explore the pyramids or walk along the Seine River–all through the magic of virtual reality (VR).

A recent Common Sense Media report found that 96 percent of K-12 teachers feel that education technology increases student engagement and 95 percent said it enables personalized learning, so it’s not a surprise that VR technology is garnering a lot of attention.

While VR has gotten significant media attention recently, only 2 percent of teachers are currently using VR in the classroom, according to a recent survey by Samsung. While VR might not be in many classrooms, 85 percent of teachers feel that VR would have a positive effect on their students.

On top of traveling to far-flung destinations, the Samsung survey found that teachers think VR allows students to experience history in a new way, such as flying like the Wright Brothers did in 1903 for history class; explore otherwise impossible locations, like traveling into space; and supplement course curriculum, such as trying new science experiments that might not be possible in the classroom environment. Essentially, VR gives students the chance to experience the impossible. However, if only 2 percent of teachers are using technology, the vast majority of students are missing out.

VR technology isn’t just limited to one subject area; 81 percent of teachers think science would most benefit from VR technology, the same percentage feel similarly about history and social studies, 60 percent think art would most benefit, and 54 and 49 percent feel English/literature and engineering would most benefit, respectively. If widely adopted, VR technology has the chance to radically change how students learn.

While slides have gone the way of the Dodo bird, VR could alter how students experience new cultures, places, and time periods. Rather than looking at pictures in a textbook or on Google images, students can walk through the Colosseum or explore the Amazon River–all from the comfort and safety of their classroom.

While 36 percent of teachers think their schools will adopt VR in the next 5 years, according to Samsung, 28 percent feel that it will never happen. Whether VR gets adopted depends on the same factors affecting the vast majority of ed tech implementations–budgets, insufficient tech infrastructure in schools, and lack of staff training, according to Common Sense Media’s report.

Whether VR is widely adopted remains to be seen, but it’s clear that teachers want the technology for their classrooms. To learn more about how teachers view VR, check out Samsung’s full infographic here.

Kate DeNardi
About Kate DeNardi
Kate DeNardi is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering education.
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