Virtual reality headsets have become an international sensation after manufacturers behind products like the PlayStation VR and the Oculus Rift made them widely-available for consumer purchase. This, in turn, has funded the growing virtual and augmented reality industries and has broadened their application in professional environments. While the focus lately has been on gameplay and entertainment, VR headsets are proving to have powerful capabilities in mapping, problem-solving, education and more.
“It didn’t take long for virtual reality to go from a futuristic dream to a mass-produced consumer product,” says Velvel Grach. “The tech is really taking off in the video game industry especially but continues to find new applications in many professional fields.”
Computer gaming and major consoles like Sony’s PlayStation allow their users to tap into richly-detailed and imaginative worlds through virtual reality. These developers are also helping to make the products more commonplace and readily available, which is fueling educators to adopt the technology for new practices. Velvel Grach has followed the topic closely in the media and discusses what this growing technology means for the future.
In the field of education, virtual reality headsets are already helping students learn and apply science curriculum in exciting new ways. Xennial Digital‘s XDVR Learning Portal program offers a range of courses that implement VR in coursework ranging from chemistry to biology. Within the software, students can access ten different programs through their Xennial learning portals, which provide sandbox-style learning environments.
Through virtual reality headsets, students encounter three-dimensional environments that prompt users to interact with scientific models in various perspectives and even allows them to manipulate 3D models. Virtual reality essentially replaces the need for expensive equipment required to instruct subjects like chemistry and eliminates the worry over harmful workshop substances.
Through Xennial Digital‘s program, Velvel Grach points out that students gain the benefit of a full chemist’s workshop. In addition, students can interact with optics and lasers as well as build three-dimensional systems that respond in real-time. All the software is guided and user-friendly so working with and applying complicated subjects is simple. The program relies on elements like guidelines, tables, and “snap-to” movements to make building and manipulating 3D environments extremely easy for new users.
“Learning complex science topics is far easier when students have the opportunity to see it first-hand in lifelike environments and freely manipulate it to understand the details more thoroughly,” says Velvel Grach. “There’s less need to buy expensive resources for the classroom with new software and VR combinations that offer similar or improved functionality at a cheaper price.”