Virtual and augmented reality in the classroom, what are its advantages?

Discover in UNITE some ideas to apply virtual reality and augmented reality in the classroom and get the most out of these technologies in class.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are an increasingly powerful tool to enrich the learning process of students at all educational stages. Discover with UNIR some ideas to apply the virtual reality and augmented reality in the classroom and get the most out of these technologies in class!

Diving in space to discover the planets and stars; that the greatest artists in history tell in detail the process of creating their famous works; or understand the functioning of the human body by checking the skeleton or muscles with which a classmate moves. There are more and more educational options that use virtual reality and augmented reality to captivate students of all ages and make learning an experience.

Some of the uses that can be given to these technologies in the classroom are the following:

  • – Recreation of historical events
  • – Discover historical and cultural heritage
    – Gamification of activities in class
    – Recreation of processes in the field of health
    – Simulate and interact with technological processes such as electricity, circuits or the like
    – Approach to sciences such as Astronomy

Differences between virtual and augmented reality

The virtual reality (VR) it is a digital environment, created through technology, to simulate reality. The scenes, objects or figures that make up these virtual reality scenarios seem real and the user enjoys an immersive experience. To create this virtual environment, a technological device is needed, normally some virtual reality glasses, but other devices such as gloves or suits are also integrated to improve the experience and interaction with the stage. This type of technology has various recreational uses, from art to education and training in multiple fields. An example is the simulation training of the aircraft pilots professionalsalthough one of its most popular uses is in recreational leisure and the universe of video games.

For its part, the augmented reality (AR) combines the real environment with an additional layer of visual elements thanks to the camera of an electronic device such as a smartphone or tablet. Unlike VR, it does not try to replace the physical setting with a digital one designed by a team, but instead seeks add information to reality that the user is living in a specific moment. This new layer of information can be text and images, videos, animations, 3D elements, audio, etc. And you can access it pointing the device’s camera at a specific point of the real or superimposed plane as if it were an interface.

This technology applied to education allows a student to “activate” additional information on a page of your book by scanning a marker, such as a QR code, and view it on your phone or tablet. Another possibility could be to observe close-up 3D projections of historical monuments or the parts of the human body.

A very popular and easy-to-get example of augmented reality is the Pokémon GO game: well-known creatures are hidden in the corners of the player’s city, integrating a fictional element into a real setting.

A powerful tool to engage students

The potential of both virtual reality and augmented reality for teaching at any educational stage is enormous. They not only allow capture the interest of students in a new way in all kinds of subjects, but they also turn the hours in the classroom into a more fun experience and encourage immersive learningthat is, through the experience of each student, achieving a greater educational impact.

Applying this type of technology in the classroom will serve the teacher in the future to encourage participation and interaction of the students, while at the same time getting them to be actively involved in their learning process. Integrating them into classes is simple thanks to the fact that there are more and more applications and resources available to schools, both free and paid. An example of how great virtual reality results can be achieved with affordable solutions is the Google Cardboard.

Furthermore, these technologies are a ideal complement to traditional educational elementssuch as textbooks and other teaching materials. This is so because they allow the content to be adapted to the learning pace of each student; They can be applied without limitation to all types of subjects —history, language, geography, mathematics, chemistry…—, and they only require some type of portable electronic device, such as a telephone or a tablet.

Teachers prepared to take advantage of new technologies

The rise of ICT in education also represents a change in the demands of the teaching labor market. Educational centers are increasingly betting on professionals with technological capabilities and skills who are capable of guiding students in their learning using these new and powerful tools. In addition to including ICT-related subjects and tools in their educational plans, a faculty prepared for this change in the educational process is needed.

In this sense, teachers and professors who want to bet on teaching through new technologies they can choose to specialize in this area with a program such as UNIR’s Master in Educational Technology and Digital Competencies. This one-course postgraduate course will show teachers how to implement technological resources in the classroom, create multimedia content and other educational resources to be used in learning platforms or coordinate teaching programs in virtual environments, among other skills.