Education is one of the most important ways for the human mind to learn about the environment around them. As defined by Oxford Dictionaries, it is “the process of receiving or giving systematic instructions, especially at a school or university.1 An enlightening experience.2” Education can take place in any places, at any time, with any subject of interest.
Usually when we think of the word, a brick-and-mortar establishment comes to mind. It brings to mind the uncomfortable experiences of sitting in a room, listening to a boring human lecturer, that assigns us time-consuming homework. Unless you had a strong interest in a particular subject, whether it be math, science, sports, arts, and so forth, education was a provocative(“causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction”) experience. This is not to say that teachers/professors was the problem, but the system they have to adhere to, is a archaic way of enticing young minds to explore subjects on their own.
Most would prefer to go out on adventures with their peers, share ideas on their social media pages, or delve into a fantastical game world. Even though these are not systematic approaches to showing how human culture and societies have and are developed, they generate the interest necessary for young minds to explore subjects of interest in depth. Proving experiences is the best educational tool. Therefore the emergence of virtual reality can change our systematic brick-and-mortar ways of teaching young minds about the world they inhabit. And there is one company pioneering educational VR.
Immersive Educational VR is a tech company, started by David Whelan, that focuses around providing immersive education. David Whelan is well astute in technological developments, evident through virtualrealityreviewer.com, which he is the Chief Editor of. This has allowed him to connect with and develop a network of like-minded people who are involved in the virtual reality development community. He has also founded The Virtual Reality Awards, showing his dedication to the future VR Industry. With immense experience and plethora of contacts, he started Immersive Educational VR, with the intent “to change how we educate children and young adults worldwide, by giving them a reason to jump out of bed in the morning and get excited about going to school or college.”
I agree with his point, that “I certainly would have been a straight A student if I was going into school knowing I was going to walk on the surface of Mars or visit a trench on the eve of the battle of the Somme.” But enough about this pioneering spirit, and more on what Immersive Educational VR is achieving.
Have you ever wondered what it was like for Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin to be the first humans to lay foot on the moon on July 20, 1969? Well this was the very first challenge Immersive Educational VR undertook. It is fitting that the pioneering company would make this their first demonstration of virtual reality, being “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
With the immersive space launch, you are in the cockpit of the shuttle. Using the original audio from the launch, it propels you into the event that brought inspiration to the future. What is really amazing, is after a minute and a half, you are taken out of the cockpit, and actually feel like a astronaut floating in space. From YouTube videos recording the reactions of people within the simulation, there is a profound affect of awe and enlightment. A sense of understanding how delicate life and how important our world is captured, recreating the feeling astronauts have when they explore the grandness of space for the first time. This is what education is suppose to be like. This experience granted Apollo 11 VR recognition and awards in pioneering in immersive education. But this was only their first step.
The end goal, is to establish a platform for educators and students to access, and experience a more thought-provoking education. Inspiring young minds, as well as mature minds, to further explore subjects of interests. Using Apollo 11 VR as a stepping stone, Immersive VR Education developed Lecture VR. As explained by the company, “Lecture VR allows us to recreate any historic lecture from the past or record any current live lecture to be replayed infinitely. Allowing you to learn in a more visual and engaging way than previously allowed in the past.”
Now educators will have the freedom to enlighten their students in the most engaging way. If they are exploring the topic of dinosaurs, they can have a Spinosaurus and Stegosaurus walk into the classroom. Or if they are discussing about the human anatomy, students can practice their knowledge of the human skeletal system, by reconstructing a life-like replica of the human body. Students can also engage with each other, creating social learning experiences. This can all be done in the comfort of your own home. Don’t worry about traffic, or waking up at the nook of dawn to get the education you owe to yourself. Matter fact, wake up excited to always enter a dynamic world, that engages your ability to learn, rather than corner you into a regimented way of learning.
To better demonstrate how immersive education will revolutionize the way we educate ourselves, they included the Edgar Dale Cone of Learning. Stating that after two weeks of learning, we retain 10% of what we READ, 20% of what we HEAR, 30% of what we SEE(looking at pictures), 50% of what we HEAR & SEE(Movies, watching demonstrations), 70% of what we SAY(participations in discussions), and 90% of what we SAY & DO(Doing the real thing or Doing a Dramatic Presentation Simulating the Real Experience a.k.a. Virtual Reality).
Definitely immersive learning allows students to retain 90% of the knowledge they gain, because they are fully engaged and not stuck reading a encyclopedia and answering a booklet of multiple choice answers. Because of the nature of the internet, students can engage with other fellow learners and educators across the globe, and not be stuck in a systematic hierarchical environment that brick-and-mortar schools tend to shimmy students in. But the true upside to this, is that it allows parents to be more engaged in their child’s learning process, and mature minds to explore subjects in a more entertaining and progressive way.
That is what technology is all about. To progress humanity to secure their spot in the future. If we don’t embrace the advancements in knowledge and tech that we have today, we are doomed to revert back to archaic times.