Best VR Education Apps

September 2023 — Search and compare the best Virtual Reality (VR) in education apps for your school. Compare customer reviews, features, training, support and pricing plans, or read about the benefits of VR Education Apps.

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How VR is used in education

In the last few years, Virtual reality (VR) in education apps have grown in popularity, enabling students to go on field trips to far away (often historic) places, and the ability to perform hundreds of (often inaccessible) science experiments in a virtual laboratory. Despite the initial upfront cost, VR learning can save schools money, improve engagement for students and increase accessibility for low-income communities.

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Learn more about VR Education Apps

What are VR Education Apps?

Virtual reality (VR) continues to surge in popularity, yet the technology has been around since the 1950s and has been used worldwide to support a range of careers – from medicine, the military, sports and engineering, to training, collaboration, product design and information delivery.

It is not just adventurous technology startups that are making virtual reality more accessible. Corporate giants can see the value of VR, and have begun to invest heavily in developing VR apps specifically for the classroom. Google’s VR Pioneer Expeditions program is one example, where more than 1 million students have taken classes already.

Virtual Reality technology allows students to participate in a three-dimensional world, where they can interact with what is presented. There are increasingly complicated levels of VR, with ‘immersion’ the most sophisticated. At this level, the student must wear a headset that contains two small screens (which hover in front of each eye), as well as headphones to transmit sound in the virtual world. This set up allows the user to feel that they are in the scene as the program tracks their behaviour and adjusts what is presented accordingly.

While this technology might seem more science fiction than practical, VR has become increasingly popular as a teaching and learning tool in schools, particularly for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) students. This has caused educators and scientists alike to ask two valuable questions: Can VR technology really help education? And if so, how?

Benefits of VR Education Apps

Enhanced experiential learning

Virtual reality allows us to solve one of the most important (and overlooked) types of learning: experiential learning. Learning by doing.

Biology students can go deep into the body and visualise the relationship between the functions of each component and interact with virtual reality content. Mel Chemistry enables students to conduct experiments on atoms and molecules that are otherwise impossible.

Experiential learning helps students to become active participants in their own education, where their learning is guided by their own curiosity. This is a powerful tool for educators to help them create a student-led culture in the classroom.

Enriching cross curricular learning

Experiential learning provides the context, confidence and learner motivation to use the knowledge learned across other subjects, such as descriptive poetry in English lessons.

As Kim Majkut, BAFTA-nominated, multi award-winning creative / director, says: “VR is a tool that can aid in developing minds and further our understanding of an endless stream of topics.”

Improving teaching

Schools can purchase 360⁰ cameras to support teachers with their professional development plan. Lessons can be reviewed from different angles, and teachers can choose to concentrate on themselves as they move around the classroom, or watch how students interact.

This takes professional development to another level, enabling teachers to reflect more deeply on their practice and interactions around the classroom – something a static camera would fail to do.

This level of reflection can be flipped onto the students, enabling them to critique their own performance by using the 360⁰ camera to watch themselves and their audience. This objective self-reflection empowers individuals to improve their performance in both teaching and learning.

Support special educational needs

In 2002, the Oregon School for the Blind was recognised for their use of virtual reality apps to help blind students learn how to safely cross a busy street. Using headphones, students practiced picking out sounds and following a teacher’s prompts to safely overcome obstacles that they might encounter on a daily basis. This safety training can be fine-tuned to each student’s needs, helping them become more prepared for the outside world.

One of the signs of autism is the inability of children to express their needs or socially interact with others. Autistic children require a predictable environment, and with VR apps the therapist and teacher can adjust the program according to the needs of each student. These interactions with virtual peers make autistic children feel more comfortable in a social environment, and their skills can then be transferred into real life situations.

Children with autism also have a hard time managing stimuli, especially when something unexpected happens during a routine. Mathieu Marunczyn, a teacher in Australia, has discovered that programs using the VR technology Oculus Rift can allow children not only to explore a virtual situation, but to relax as stimuli can be controlled in this virtual environment. Being able to calm one’s self is a huge life skill, and VR education apps can assist with that process.

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EdTech Impact

Updated on: 25 August 2021

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