Advances in virtual reality (VR) technology is opening up a world of possibilities, especially for students. VR technology is still in the early stages, but it is already revolutionizing the way learning takes place in the classroom.
The most basic virtual reality technology comes in the form of Google Cardboard. This is essentially a cardboard box. Students place their phone inside the cardboard goggles and hold it to their face. There are also pricier versions of VR goggles such as Nearpod. Nearpod still uses the student’s cell phone to provide the content, but is higher quality than the cardboard version and can actually be worn instead of just held. For Galaxy users, Samsung also has VR goggles that work exclusively with Galaxy smartphones.
In addition to providing the actual goggles, both Google and Nearpod offer field-trip simulation software. VR enhances lesson plans on a whole new level. Teachers can guide students through the Louvre or on a space expedition. Instead of just teaching students about the Egyptian pyramids, students can put on the headset and suddenly be transported to Cairo.
The New York Times has also developed an app for VR. With NYT VR, teachers can have their students read an article and then involve their students with the VR video. Students can experience an airdrop of food in Somalia or the life of a displaced family in Ukraine. VR is a powerful tool, helping students feel empathetic and truly understand the experiences of others around the world.
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