Virtual Reality tools not only make learning more interactive but turns it into a life-like experience. If you've been wondering how to get VR at home for your child, we have some of the answers.
By Sarika Chuni
Most of us had only read or heard stories about the lumbering prehistoric creatures called Dinosaurs, till the release of the Jurassic Park movie in the mid-90s changed our entire perspective and mindsets towards these animals. Now, they were not just a part of our history curriculum, but creatures that we could actively visualise on the screen as living, breathing animals.
Imagine another scenario where you not only get to see these beasts on the screen but actually get to walk among them. Not pretending that they are there in front of a green screen, but being a part of their world. This is the very tangible magic of Virtual Reality or VR.
Virtual Reality is used to describe a three-dimensional (3D), computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person, just like we interact with our real world. The person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and while there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.
For example, instead of being read a chapter about the prehistoric man or being shown a video, students can be taken virtually back in time to see how things were like, in the prehistoric era.
According to VR expert, Technical Head WePop Info Solutions, Chandrasekaran K, “Virtual reality is a completely immersive experience similar to taking a child for a field trip, where the child has real experiential learning. It is especially useful for content areas which normally are not accessible in the real world, the human anatomy or historical events, for example.”
So how can we get our children to access these incredible VR tools? According to Chandrasekaran, VR tools start from a very basic Rs. 450 for a Google Cardboard VR goggle to more advanced versions. Schools that have smart board already are securing 3D content that is VR suitable.
All one needs after getting a VR google/viewing device is the right content. Thankfully, there are a number of Educational VR apps such as Star Chart for astronomy, Public Speaking app for honing your child’s public speaking skills, InMind to help you travel into the brain and learn about its anatomy, Unimersiv to bring history to life, Anatomy 4D to study the human body first hand among many others. All these apps are available on for both iOS and Android, some free and some with in-app purchases as well. A lot of online educational sites also offer tailor-made VR content for different educational boards at a reasonable price.
After getting the VR headset, the content can be displayed on your smartphone itself that you view through your VR device.
It is a popular conception that VR is an expensive tool. “The main issue with costing is the content. Though there is a wide range of VR headsets to choose from, the content available is still not as free and wide as some educational videos on Youtube and other free online streaming sites. If this technology is used more both by schools and home learners, and VR’s use in education gains popularity, more academic content will be made, just as it has happened with video learning tools such as Khan Academy,” Chandrasekaran says.
However, even the current VR content available can be easily used to supplement your child’s education.
“A lot of big names like Microsoft and Google are actively working on creating more VR content for education,” says Chandrasekaran.
For parents worried about getting their child addicted to such technology or damaging their eyesight, Chandrasekaran has this to say - “Instead of using mobiles for playing games, it will be really helpful if VR games are given to students. A few minutes of VR visualisation can not only increase imagination but also reduce the inordinate time spent watching videos and playing other kinds of games on the phone.”
Virtual reality is not there to replace traditional learning, but to supplement it. It offers an innovative and fresh perspective on teaching concepts to your child in a way that captures their attention and enhances retention. It is especially helpful for learning who have language or learning difficulties, offering the rare combination of all the key learning styles in one.
With the tools and content available at your fingertips, and at the cost of a trip to a movie, what are you waiting for? Give your child the experience of learning through VR and watch them have their own Eureka moments.
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