Words are powerful and speak volume, a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth about a million, and virtual reality is immeasurable. This is true as reality teaches first hand in a way that what you have experienced cannot be taken away from us.
The educational system in most African countries is dependent on just words, and as a product of such educational system, I must confess grasping information is really hard. As students, we have to use our imagination to try and picture what we are being taught in order to understand it.
This poor learning experience coupled with outdated curriculums have left a big gap between us and other Western countries. It wasn’t until now that some schools have begun to use Pictures to teach, but that is even limited to the kindergarten level.
Virtual Reality is definitely here to stay, and as it penetrates into different parts of our daily lives, many companies are trying to make sure they tag along. Google has its Google Expeditions and Google Cardboard as part of it its support for the use of this technology in Education.
How students can benefit from VR?
There are many ways that students can benefit from the use of Virtual Reality and some are listed below.
Google Expeditions app when connected to cardboard headsets can be used by students for virtual tours thereby increasing their experience and enable them to grasp more information that they could have imagined.
The wealth of knowledge that comes with witnessing different things they are being taught (from space trips to deep seas tours) via Virtual Reality will help reduce the stress of blind imagination that they have been subjected to by the present learning system. It costs just $15, and the government should be able to afford it quickly for a start.
Also, students will be able to visit different school campus that they have been unable to visit to see what it will look like, visit new countries to learn new languages and much more if Virtual Reality is introduced.
Training students the basics of acquiring new skills can be tricky, and sometimes safety measures are not being put in place. While video tutorials can come in handy, Virtual Reality simulations can do much more.
With VR simulations, the students are in control as they are not only learning but also practicing, which speeds up the learning process.
Delve into Ancient Theories
History doesn’t have to be boring. Theoretically, nothing really interests us about learning about Ancient Monuments and the rest as the picture painted by the books we read can be very hard to grasp. With Virtual Reality simulations, instead of merely reading, we can witness why these ancient theories were proposed and the history behind them.
For Special Education
Student’s with special needs can finally learn at their own pace with Virtual Reality. They can take tours, take engineering lessons, visit museums, learn different languages all through the use of virtual reality.
Real-life Applications of Virtual Reality
Many may argue that these are just opinions that can not be implemented but Virtual reality has been applied in Real Life scenarios before, and more efforts are being put into its development to push boundaries.
Alchemy Learning, an EdTech Start-Up already brought Virtual Reality into the classroom by using Oculus Rift to take students on tours. Titans of Space will take you on space tours using Virtual Reality. The University of Michigan has employed Virtual Reality to let potential football loving students experience what it’s like to play or be in a full stadium.
Even the medical aspect is not left out as there are cases of Virtual Reality being used to teach neurosurgeons about brain surgery, stimulating patients brain during a surgical procedure amongst others.
For Africa to develop, there must be considerable investments in the educational Sector of its countries, and these investments must be monitored, so the cash doesn’t get siphoned away and the projects abandoned. This will help students to be focused on developments as many barriers would have been eliminated. Virtual reality should be considered and employed to help the students understand better by giving them first-hand experience of what they are being taught.
Virtual reality will help us, and the impact is worth the cost. While we know that the educational sector of the African Continent is mostly neglected, hopefully, someday, it will be revived. And I hope someday is tomorrow.