Page 33 - Campus Technology, June 2017
P. 33

As virtual reality goes mainstream and provides new ways for students to interact and gain hands-on experience, it’s important to experiment and demonstrate the technology’s potential learning benefits.
By Ruth Reynard
As with every new “technology” that has entered society since the advent of the quill and the printing press, there are immediate interests and innovations pursued by early adopters, innovators, scientists and end users. In most cases, the technology is used for a while and then educators begin to look at the potential benefits for learning and instruction. Usually that happens when we realize the technology is popular and the younger generations are enthralled with using it — and therefore it is “here to stay.” As educators, we then begin to look at how the technology is impacting the way students think and process information — and how we can integrate the technology in the teaching and learning process.
That model is an apt description of the state of virtual reality (VR) technology in education. As VR increasingly goes mainstream, there are various points of view on its current effectiveness in teaching and learning — and its potential use moving forward.
Evolving Perspectives
Consider the following timeline of attitudes toward VR:
In 2001, researchers Jaime Sánchez, Mauricio Lumbreras
and João Pedro Silva wrote,
“Authors disagree in their opinions about the real value of VR interfaces. VR has rapidly emerged as a very promising technology that will probably match the innovation of technologies such as multimedia/ hypermedia.”
In 2015, David Marlett published an article on video game pioneer John Carmack and the arrival of Oculus VR, writing,
“Just within the last two years, there has been a great leap forward in immersion techniques. Along the way, we’ve discovered that VR is not just for entertainment — gaming and movies, for example — but that it also has broad commercial applications for the likes of virtual travel, real estate evaluation, and remote training.”4
amixstudio/Marina Sun/Shutterstock/CT Staff

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