Technology that defies reality: learning in the future
By Ania Czupajlo
Can you imagine your students learning about the galaxy while travelling through space? Discovering the deepest secrets of the oceans without scuba gear? Roaming the ruins of ancient Rome or watching dinosaurs in their native habitats? All this from the comfort of their classroom!
Yes, this can happen. All thanks to the new technologies that offer next generation virtual reality (VR).
I had the opportunity to try Oculus Rift, one of the newest and most exciting offerings recently released to the consumer market. With the Oculus Rift headset on I became immersed in an incredible virtual reality world. Even though I knew it wasn’t real, it felt real. I tried everything from visiting faraway places around the world to learning about the universe, human anatomy, the evolution of our planet, and so much more. I didn’t want to stop – I wanted to keep learning. And all this happened in my own living room.
With Oculus Rift you will experience a sensation of presence to the point that you will want to reach out and touch things, which will be possible thanks to the Oculus Touch technology. Oculus Touch is a pair of holding controllers that will deliver a natural hand presence and they will make you feel like your virtual hands are actually your own.
Oculus Rift and other VR technologies are now primarily seen for gaming. However, after experiencing a new virtual world of learning for myself, I can see the education sector embracing this technology in the very near future. In the same way we now have classrooms filled with computers for every student, we will have VR technologies for each student with their own headset. Students will have the opportunity to become more engaged and focused when exposed to the knowledge that can come from the VR world.
Imagine kids exploring the universe together, or educators involved in webinars where everyone can interact with each other on a more “real” level?
Until this happens many schools are using Google Cardboard, a more simple and affordable technology. You can find more about Google Cardboard at: www.google.com/get/cardboard.
For more information on Oculus Rift and apps that may be of interest to you or your students, visit www.oculus.com.
Other VR technologies: