Recently a virtual collegiate tour company called YouVisit has upgraded its user experience by integrating their original concepts with the new Oculus Rift device. The experience of deciding on higher education has become more enticing with the immersive virtual reality tours. The initial user experience was akin to Google Street View with the founders being hired out by thousands of universities to photograph their campuses. With the new virtual reality headset, prospective students can get a more life-like feel for the spaces without spending money on airfare and travel expenses for short visits.
Interactive Education and Augmented Reality
YouVisit’s use of Oculus Rift for Education gets students excited about entering into the establishment, but keeping them there and engaged in the classroom is likely to become a digital experience too. While we are a long way out from holographic in-home tutors and professors, faculty members across the entire board of education can benefit their students’ imaginations and curiosity by bringing to life history and world travel.
Imagine: Art history majors walking through world renowned museums on virtual tours without leaving the classroom; and museums could go from virtual to creating augmented reality software and adapted devices that allow visitors to look at the art pieces while also having the history and information in their visual fields with interactive displays. Anthropology and Archeology departments can recreate lost ruins to their original splendor and create student projects that immerse students in the visual cultural space. Historical events could be created to become 3-dimensional worlds that can be explored and controlled. The possibilities are limitless once university departments start working with 3D animators and designers.
Students: Retaining Knowledge and Curiosity
I remember the agonizingly mundane routine of high school and teachers usually didn’t try to hide their agreement. The educational experience as a whole needs to be able to impress itself upon students without using grade coercion, which is a hard thing to do if both students and teachers are having difficulty engaging. Virtual reality education looks like an answer, with exciting benefits that motivate our youthful sense of curiosity. Tori DeAngelis wrote an article for the American Psychological Association about testing virtual reality in the classroom:
"The Holy Grail of teaching is one-on-one instruction," says Bailenson, who directs Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab. "Virtual reality enables you to amplify what is normally done in a real classroom…" In a range of studies, Bailenson's team is showing that manipulating virtual versions of the teacher and classroom environment can help students pay attention and perform better… As a whole, these technologies could have profound implications for distance learning, individualized learning at home, and other applications, Bailenson believes. Consider the advantages of giving thousands of students the ability to see the same great teacher; to consistently sit in the best spot in the class; or to enter a teacher's body to learn physical moves.