May 26, 2023, 9:00 AM
May 26, 2023, 9:00 AM
Vvisit Tulum in Mexico, the Eiffel Tower in France, Taj Mahal in India, Machu Picchu in Peru and the Statue of Liberty in the United States, without leaving the classroom. It seems like a utopia, but new technologies have the solution. Thanks to Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can make it possible.
These techniques are being applied in different fields of life and also of knowledge. Universities use it because it helps improve understanding, participation, and the learning experience.
Ariel Villarroel, member of the Teaching-Learning Department (JEA) of the Franz Tamayo University, Unifranz, points out that both technologies enable educational experiences more involving, relevant and meaningful.
Virtual reality is a computer simulation that allows the sensation of being immersed in a computer generated environment. For this, virtual reality headsets, gloves or motion controllers are required. In this way it is possible to interact with that virtual environment.
It is a highly immersive experience, as it creates the sensation of being present in a virtual world.
Instead, augmented reality combines elements of the real and digital world. It superimposes both realities in real time. In this case, special smartphones, tablets or glasses are required to track the physical environment on which they will superimpose additional information, such as graphics, text, videos or other virtual objects.
This technology, improves perception and interaction with the physical environment, because it provides additional information, contextualized in the existing reality.
Both systems can transform education by providing more immersive and interactive learning experiences.
Virtual reality has various applications in education
The teaching-learning expert lists six experiences in which both technologies can be used.
Virtual tours: Students can take virtual tours of historical sites, museums, archeological sites, or even travel into space. It would allow them to explore and experience environments that they otherwise could not, due to geographic or time constraints.
Interactive simulations: Virtual reality can provide realistic simulations of scientific phenomena or complex processes, such as chemistry experiments, biological reactions, or even quantum physics. Thus, students could interact or experiment without risks or associated costs.
language learning: facilitate real-time translations of objects in the physical environment. In addition, students can practice conversations with virtual characters, who respond in real time.
visual representations: Both virtual reality and augmented reality can help visualize abstract concepts. Three-dimensional models in virtual reality could show the structure of complex molecules; while augmented reality, planetary models or solar systems.
content creation: Students can use virtual reality and augmented reality to create their own educational content to design interactive virtual environments or augmented reality applications with information on a specific topic.
Inclusive education: These technologies could meet the needs of students with different learning styles or even disabilities. Virtual reality can provide immersive experiences for students with attention difficulties, while AR could provide additional visual support for people with visual disabilities.
“The key is to take advantage of these technologies as complementary tools to improve students’ understanding, participation and learning experience,” advises the Unifranz expert.