Creative Teaching : Virtual Reality

Wishing Well – Creative Teaching : Virtual Reality

Old News – Retrospective

It was 1992, with Virtual Reality having already made its first baby, but audacious steps, when Sandra Helsel, a principle in “Infinite Media”, in Dublin, California, and an Editor in “Virtual Reality Report and Multimedia Review”, was expressing her thoughts on the matter. Surely, a world of endless educational possibilities seemed to be in the works; not danger-free however, according to the author.

Apart from the development of a concrete Curriculum, with clear educational goals from the teachers’ end, accompanied of course by the right software and hardware, which back then, would take a fair amount of time, the author’s main concern was another; more of an ideological and societal concern, the author expressed her fear of Virtual Reality systems focusing solely on the exciting progress of the technological aspects, rather than the educational part.

Concerned on the future of the application of VR systems in Education, and clearly stating her opinion, that technology that is, is invested with ideological orientations, Sandra Helsel wrote: “…in the conceptual orientation the human processes (whether cognitive, social, emotional, spiritual, etc.) of the student are the focus of the designer, and the computer becomes merely a tool for expediting or replicating a process that causes the user to become a participant in an abstract space.” and “Conversely, when the technology becomes the primary focus, the emphasis is placed upon the mechanical, i.e., software capabilities, system architecture, eye physiology, etc., rather than upon the student”.

Two years later, in 1994’s article on Virtual Reality, by Chris M. Byrne, the very essence of Virtual Reality systems was pointed out; the creation and development that is, of any imaginable world, of educational interest in our case, or the participation in an existing one.

What is of even greater interest, insignificant today maybe, but rather exciting back then, is the realization that through VR systems, the curriculum could be presented in the style that best matches the student’s style, while at the same time the other styles are not to be left out, but rather maintained as well.

Concerned nonetheless, on how computers and VR systems would be beneficial to many different styles of learning, Chris M. Byrne mentions: “A literature search of learning styles and computers results in articles advocating computer usage as a positive method of matching learning styles to the students if used correctly.

Basically, the articles are saying that the characteristics of computers are conducive to a wide range of learning styles, but there is no guarantee that how the computers are actually programmed will actually be beneficial to many different people. For example, while computers can be programmed to have cool graphics and interesting interactivity, often the only programs in use are of the drill and practice mode, which tends to not excite or motivate the “right-brained” thinker. Actually, having students program the computers themselves is seen as a beneficial method of using computers”.

Many years passed, and truth be told, for a long time Virtual Reality never managed to stand up next to the expectations it, itself, had set. Many failed attempts, many fake promises; if not fake, then definitely a bit over the top. Until the explosion of progress and new systems, that rose during the previous decade.


Creative Teaching : Virtual Reality image

In 2019’s article with the title “Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Education. Myth or Reality?”, Noureddine Elmqaddem of the School of Information Sciences in Maroco, examines the progress of the Systems, from a technological aspect, and ultimately whether or not AR and VR, are ready to shape the education of the future; and how.

After assessing the technological evolution, making sure that the 2 systems are up to the challenge, the author mentions: “In fact, many recent hardware and software improvements show that in a near future AR and VR will be reliable enough as new computing platforms. This promises radical changes and new teaching and learning models that should satisfy the needs of the learner of the 21st century who no longer thinks the same way as in the 20th or 19th century”.


Today’s Articles – Creative Teaching : Virtual Reality

It is rather exciting to understand the perception of Virtual Reality that analysts had two, or three decades ago. Take a taste of their excitement of what is to come, of what shall be experienced. In many things they were right; in others, many as well, wrong. Certainty it is, that Virtual Reality, along with its beloved cousin, Augmented Reality, are here, and are here for good.

The curtains are drawn, and Creative Teaching : Virtual Reality has made its, long needed appearance. The Erasmus+ project introduces VR and AR systems in adult Education, focusing on revolutionizing its teaching and learning practices. The focus of the project is not only on the technological aspect of the systems, but rather on how teaching and learning methodologies can become innovative, engaging, and inclusive, and lead to new educational worlds. Worlds that in a matter of minutes learners will be able to wander through, experiencing knowledge from a totally different eye.


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