Our life can be hardly imagined without modern technology. Every day some scientists and engineers create new devices, which amaze and make us marvel. Thus, virtual reality or shortly VR is one of such incredible innovations. It’s actively used by the youth for fun and entertainment. It’s a new revolutionary kind of games. However, some educators use it for educational purposes. Should we use virtual reality in education? It’s an interesting question and we’ve tried to investigate it. This matter has both sides of the medal. There are obvious benefits, as well as drawbacks. To draw some firm conclusions, one should know both sides. Let’s take a look at some general pros and cons of VR.
First of all, we’d like to pay your attention to great possibilities if we use virtual reality.
- Development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Thanks to VR, teachers can create close-to-reality scenes. For example, they can show regions of forest devastation or countries with social poverty. It helps to really live through such situations. Besides, virtual simulations put students right in front of a problem and make them take quick decisions. Thus, they develop problem-solving skills.
- Engages in the process. Due to non-traditional and interactive approach to the process of learning, students are more interested in it. They want to practice this experience more frequently and would like to solve all kinds of tasks. The entire classes get engaged and actively collaborate to overcome different academic obstacles. They are willing to act and while they learn, it doesn’t feel like they work. Students accept VR lessons like some form of game and entertainment. We all know that children learn a lot through games. Therefore, this is a huge advantage all educators should use.
- Improvement of quality. Students gain more through interactive methods of teaching and virtual lessons seem to be one of the best ways to ensure it. VR technology creates a mass effect when more and more students really want to attend their classes. They develop their skills and enlarge knowledge. Students use new approaches to tackle their assignments. The solutions they find are more effective. The results come faster and easier. As a result, the quality of education sufficiently increases.
- Breaking language barriers. Another vital benefit is a possibility to overcome the language barrier. Virtual reality doesn’t involve too much talking. It encourages active collaboration and action.
Now, we should review and analyze the possible cons.
- A lack of real communication. The traditional education is based on personal human interaction. It helps to develop interpersonal and social skills. They are important for a child to become a real member of society. Besides, the collaborative method helps to succeed in studies. Due to virtual reality, children don’t experience real communication. This negatively affects their socializing and makes them torn away from other people.
- A lack of flexibility. Though VR allows for studying various aspects, it’s not as flexible as it should be. Yes, it can be used in merely every discipline. On the other hand, the materials given during such lessons don’t offer individuality and multiple-choice. When students use the software, they learn only the materials that were programmed. If they ask other questions, they won’t find any answers.
- Possible problems with the functioning. Similar to any software and devices, VR tools get spoiled from time to time. They break, the system goes crushed down, or it simply glitches. Such accidents bring the process of learning to a full stop until the problem is fixed. Oftentimes, students get trapped by various tasks and cannot manage them all.
- The issue of addiction. Like most technological inventions, VR may contribute to the development of addiction. Many people are anxious about the continuous use of smartphones and playing video games. Children can’t imagine their life without virtual reality and they lose interest in other activities, including education and communication with society.
- Great costs. Finally, virtual reality software and tools are very expensive. Most school boards cannot afford it and so, they can only dream about using it no matter how great the benefits are. Moreover, some students with a richer budget can afford it, but other children cannot use it. This creates a huge gap between them and may lead to envy and enmity.
As you can see, this issue has advantages and disadvantages. Which side outweighs the other one? It depends on people and a concrete situation. The way we intend to use VR in education determines what’s better. Therefore, review this aspect from all angles to make the right choice.