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Virtual Reality in the Classroom

A guide to using the Virtual Reality resources available at OISE Library.

Best Practices for Using Virtual Reality in Education

 

While virtual reality in education is still in its infancy, there are best practices being developed for educators and designers to use VR in education. These best practices in teaching and learning are intended to guide educators in providing safe and enjoyable immersive experiences using mobile devices and VR equipment. VR offers promising ways to engage students and learning outcomes in K-12 and higher education. Before implementing VR in the classroom, there are a few considerations educators need to consider. First, ensure the technology is adaptive and compatible to the current classroom and school technology infrastructure (e.g. internet connectivity when streaming rich VR experiences). Second, determine the affordability and accessibility of the new VR technologies. Headsets are an expensive investment for most schools and such technologies should bridge the opportunity gap rather than expand it. And lastly, focus on the learning experience rather than the excitement of these new technologies. Do a bit of research about the product, application and company before utilizing their tools. Some companies may provide additional support, including an online community, and repository of lesson plans and videos. At the "VR in the Classroom" panel at Games for Change 2017, panelists recommended five best practices for using VR in the classroom:

  • Flip the experience and make it student-centered
  • Make VR experiences social
  • Combine physical and virtual objects
  • Keep iterating as you learn
  • Use VR to enhance, not replace

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There are other resources that provide discussions on best practices in VR. Voices of VR Podcast publishes podcasts and interviews with pioneering developers and experts to bring a diverse range of VR perspectives and insights from over 500 makers and academics. Each podcast attempts to address the question, "What do you think the ultimate potential of virtual reality is?" In addition, the Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) offers current teaching, learning, and research practices in 3D virtual environments. Annually, the conference focus on the identification of best practices in education designed for virtual world technology. Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab is also a great resource to learn about emerging VR research and practices. The mission of the Lab is to understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations using empirical behavioral science methodologies. Some of their current projects include understanding childhood development and immersive virtual reality and leaning in immersive VR classrooms.

Best Practices for Design