Saturday, August 20, 2016

Virtual Reality for Education!

Any Star Trek fans reading??? Well, NetDragon Websoft Holdings Ltd, a leading company in implementing Virtual Reality for Education sure has one cool lair designed replicating the USS Enterprise. As a Star Trek fan myself, this excites me!!

 

Photo: NetDragon Websoft

Earlier this month, a Bloomberg Article reported on the topic of virtual reality and it's possible entrance into education, especially in China. It explained that many parents in China wanted to "give their kids an edge", which as an immigrant from Hong Kong, I could testify towards. We're interested in using Virtual Reality to acquire this so called advantage. This would make China a perfect testing site for this product. NetDragon wants to perform a variety of tracking tests which could help the release of these products. For example, tracking the pupil activity of the children using these products in the classroom. The program also hopes to be able to evaluate human behavior while using digital products to detect diseases within a person. In terms of education, they hope that virtual reality will be a useful resource in detecting interests in children from a young age as well as their learning abilities.

Yes, there are unlimited benefits involving the implementation of Virtual Reality in education. However, Virtual Reality also has many negatives to the program. An issue which was mentioned in the  Bloomberg Article  a few times is piracy. As of now, many tech giants have a plethora  of knowledge for every person that touches technology. For example, a search engine such as Google basically knows the ins and out of your entire life. From your browsing history to your purchase history, Google collects data about every aspect of your life. That's how they tailor all their ads towards your areas of interest. The issue with Virtual Reality and NetDragon's tracking (such as human behavior and pupil activity) is that it takes knowing a person to another level. Before, it was only knowledge of your personal life, now it has escalated to  knowledge of your entire body. Obviously, if this valuable information is used responsibly, it should not be an issue. However, the determining usage will come down to trust, and parents in China sure feel that the rewards of a good quality education outweigh the risks.

Personally, I 've had multiple chances to try virtual reality. It sure is an exhilarating experience, but I do admit that sometimes I feel dizzy from using a VR device. However, in my case, the fun outweighs the dizziness. If you want to try a VR device, you can easily find tech stores such as Microsoft or Best Buy and sometimes they do VR demos at no cost. If you want to buy a VR device, the budget  ranges from $10- $800. I  recommend the Google Cardboard if you just want to experience Virtual Reality. It is  very affordable, while still providing a modest experience. If you haven't tried out Virtual Reality, I really recommend it!

2 comments:

Alisandra Wederich said...

Having played at length with an HTC Vive, I also highly recommend Virtual Reality - in fact, the Vive has a few games that provide a sort of preview of the educational capabilities of VR through games like "Job Simulator," which allows you to practice being a chef, a mechanic, a store clerk or an office worker. While the games themselves are geared towards comedic results, you get to do things like actually turn a wrench on a car, chop and mix ingredients in a kitchen and perform other actions associated with particular jobs.

Given that a recent survey showed that something like 70% of college students don't even know how to sew on a button, it's easy to see how learning some simple life skills like this could be done through VR in one's own livingroom where you don't have to go through the embarrassment of admitting the skills you don't possess in a more public classroom or other venue currently available for picking up these skills.

Virtual Reality also has critical applications for things like medicinal education where students could practice saving the life of a virtual patient and learn from their mistakes in the digital world before practicing on real live patients.

To be sure, Virtual Reality and even Augmented Reality, are the way of the future of education.

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