By Lee Brighton, CSO Virtro Entertainment
Education has always evolved in line with technological advances, from teaching originally delivered by parents and their small social groups, to literature-based learning, to today’s e-learning. Education has reliably adapted its methodologies to suit societal needs and virtual reality is set to spark the education industry’s biggest evolution yet!
So how is Virtual Reality going to help to lead a radical shift in education where cell phones were unable to move the needle?
To answer this question we need to firstly understand what VR is, and its impact.
Virtual Reality is a virtually created alternative reality. VR has an artificially created space to offer the user a complete, immersive experience.
In VR the user’s external world is removed and replaced by a rich and vibrant virtual simulation. The all-encompassing, visual experiences, coupled with quality sound, invite the user to understand new perspectives, engage in new challenges and interact within powerful and moving experiences. Researchers are finding that the transfer of information to your brain can be likened to how you brain absorbs real experiences – in other words the experiences in virtual reality feel extremely lifelike and ‘real’.
My VR Experience
The impact of VR can be best described through an anecdote of my own personal experience. I, like many other people, show pronounced signs of discomfort when elevated to certain heights – in other words, I am quite afraid of heights. Several weeks ago while attending SIGGRAPH I jumped in a VR game that challenged me to walk around a room – simple enough. What I didn’t realise before going into the experience was that as I moved around, the blocks that I was standing on acted like elevators and while my sensible brain knew full well that I was standing on a sound and strong concrete floor, my sensors were telling me otherwise. I felt all signs of discomfort that I would feel if I was truly in this situation. Elevated heart rate, anxious and I was no longer confident in walking forward across the walkway. This crunch came for me as I was taken up one more floor and found myself facing a situation where within the game I was now at the 32nd floor and I had to walk over a narrow beam that looked like it was no more than 20 cms (10 inch) wide. At this point my mind was racing and with every part of me I wanted to walk over…But I couldn’t move. The story that the VR was communicating to my brain was overpowering the message, and my fear of heights won. I took the headset off again, reminded of the amazing power that this realm contains.
How VR is a Potent Tool to Disrupt Learning
So here is the reality. VR is a very powerful and immersive tool which will profoundly change the way we play, work and educate. In the education space, VR will offer amazing opportunities to practice learned skills and experience scenarios in a virtual simulated environment.
We’d like to introduce an application that Virtro has been developing this year to disrupt language learning…
Meet Argotian, the conversational language learning game delivered in VR!
We are developing Argotian with the intent to make language learning enjoyable and to empower people to be conversationally fluent. We want to give learners the opportunity to practice their speaking and listening skills in an optimised environment -using the smarts of AI and the immersiveness of VR- and be able access this environment wherever they are in the world. We see the social impact of Argotian opening the doors for universal quality learning and lifting the barriers of location and accessibility.
Pilot program launching Q1 2019
Sign up for early access here: www.argotian.com/join
I challenge every educator that reads this to get involved with this new technology. Learn and understand its power to revolutionize the learning landscape for our children and be a part of pushing the technology forward into the mainstream. As leaders you will not hold the next generation of learners back, but rather will empower them and provide them with the tools to change our world for the better.
Many thanks to CIRCE for featuring us in your imaginED blog. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the near future!