The role of VR in education

ACN examines how virtual reality is changing the global education sector

Tags: Augmented realityUnited Arab Emirates
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The role of VR in education VR is helping to enhance the overall teaching and learning experience.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  December 21, 2017

Of the various technologies that have been embraced by the global education sector in recent memory, few hold as much opportunity or are as highly sought than virtual reality (VR). Whether bringing the past to life through historic simulations, transporting students instantaneously to other parts of the world, or delving deep into the anatomy of the human body, VR along with other similar reality technologies, are helping to enhance the overall teaching and learning experience.

As one of the most recognised brands in the global virtual reality space, HTC has been a key supporter in the recent advancement of VR technology and content. It’s most prominent virtual reality offering to date is the HTC Vive, a room-scale VR solution launched back in 2016 in close collaboration with the Valve Corporation.

Since that time the company has continued to build on the basic Vive Package adding peripherals in the form of a universal tracking device, Vive Tracker, as well as wireless capabilities realised through a collaboration with TP Cast. In addition to advancing the core hardware HTC has also launched a VR subscription service, as well as investing in developer platforms.

Within the Middle East region’s education space, HTC has worked diligently alongside educators to raise awareness on the benefits and application of virtual reality technologies. Its high-profile projects include collaborations with UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), and the nation’s Ministry of Education. The company also participated in the recent JESS Digital Summit, where it highlighted the utilisation of VR in classrooms.

“Schools like JESS Dubai are already using VR technology and Vive to engage students, and we expect more and more schools to bring VR into the classroom very soon,” comments Nikitas Glykas, president, HTC Middle East & Africa.

“We have already been in touch with a number of ministries and schools in the region about these plans, and the outlook is very promising over the next 6-12 months. We are also working with developers to create new content and open tools that educators can subscribe to.”

Highlighting specific cases where VR serves as a practical alternative to traditional teaching aids, Glykas shares that virtual reality can be greatly beneficial to theoretical knowledge teaching and practical skills training. In the case of the latter, students can use VR to improve their operational skills, while at the same time improving their sense of involvement in the classroom.

“Recent studies have shown that the application of VR in education can lead to dramatic improvements in academic achievements and long-term knowledge comprehension. Children with learning difficulties can also accelerate to the top of the class in studies where they’ve been able to use VR compared to solely traditional learning methods,” adds Glykas.

“Currently, we are working on an education platform on Viveport and a classroom management system that will be launched in the near future to support educational content upload via the Viveport developer console.”

As part of its continued support for the advancement of the virtual reality technology market, HTC launched Vive X, a $100m global VR accelerator aimed at supporting companies active within the field. Unveiled back in April 2016, the initiative has seen investments in more than 30 companies globally.

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