The most common misconceptions about VR in the classroom
Virtual Reality (VR) has rapidly evolved in recent years and more and more innovative teachers are implementing immersive technology in to their classrooms. However, with its growing popularity, several misconceptions have also emerged.
We asked the EdTech communities what are the most common misconceptions about virtual reality in the classroom and these are the top myths they mentioned.
In this article, we will debunk the top five most common misconceptions about VR, shedding light on the reality of this transformative technology.
Myth #1: VR Is Just a Fad
One of the prevailing misconceptions surrounding VR is that it's merely a passing trend.
However, the truth is quite the opposite.
Virtual Reality has already made significant strides and continues to advance at a rapid pace.
Major tech companies, including Facebook (Oculus), Pico, Apple, HTC, and Sony, are heavily investing in VR, which indicates its long-term viability.
VR is revolutionizing sectors such as healthcare, education, entertainment, and even training and simulations. As technology progresses, VR is poised to become an integral part of our daily lives.
Myth #2: VR is for gamers only
While VR gaming has gained immense popularity, it's important to note that VR has applications beyond gaming.
Virtual Reality has enormous potential in fields like medicine, architecture, engineering, and tourism, to name a few. Surgeons can practice complex procedures in a risk-free environment, architects can visualize their designs in 3D, and tourists can virtually explore destinations from the comfort of their homes.
VR's versatility extends far beyond the gaming realm, making it a transformative tool across various industries.
Myth #3: VR lessons are a gimmick. They don’t provide much learning value.
While empirical studies specifically targeting VR's educational effectiveness may be limited, the underlying principles supporting its potential are well-founded.
Gamification, which incorporates game-like elements to enhance engagement and motivation, has shown promising results in various educational settings.
By leveraging the immersive and interactive nature of VR, gamified experiences can provide learners with a more compelling and enjoyable learning environment.
Additionally, the hands-on approach in science education has long been recognized as an effective way to deepen understanding and promote critical thinking skills.
Myth #4: VR is expensive
Historically, VR technology was indeed expensive and limited to high-end devices. However, the landscape has changed significantly in recent years.
The cost of VR equipment has considerably decreased, and a variety of options are now available to suit different budgets. From standalone headsets to smartphone-based VR experiences, there are options for every price range.
Myth #5: VR can cause motion sickness (or cybersickness)
One concern that is often associated with Virtual Reality is the potential for motion sickness.
Studies have shown that approximately 3% of VR users may experience some level of motion sickness, depending on factors such as individual susceptibility and the specific VR experience.
However, it's important to note that the incidence of motion sickness varies widely and is not universal among all users. The most common reason for “motion sickness” is that the headset or the lenses are fitted on the student incorrectly or the studentś's first VR experience included too much motion.
By following guidelines for VR usage and gradually acclimating to virtual environments, the likelihood and severity of motion sickness can be significantly reduced, allowing users to enjoy VR without adverse effects.
Myth #6: Virtual Reality gear is uncomfortable to wear
While early iterations of VR headsets were bulky and had limited ergonomic design, the technology has significantly improved in terms of comfort and wearability.
Manufacturers have made considerable efforts to enhance the comfort of VR headsets by incorporating adjustable head straps, improved weight distribution, and breathable materials.
Furthermore, the availability of various headset options, including standalone headsets, tethered systems, and even wireless solutions, allows users to choose a device that best suits their preferences and comfort requirements.
Myth #7: Using virtual reality requires plenty of physical space
One common misconception about using VR headsets is the notion that it requires a large amount of physical space.
While it's true that some VR experiences, such as room-scale VR, benefit from having more space for movement, it is not a requirement for all VR applications.
Many VR experiences can be enjoyed in a seated or stationary position, making them suitable for classrooms or confined areas.
Additionally, advancements in VR technology have led to the development of inside-out tracking systems, which rely on sensors within the headset to track movement, reducing the reliance on external sensors or dedicated play areas.
These advancements enable users to enjoy VR in more compact environments like classrooms without sacrificing the immersive experience.
Myth #8: It is too difficult to manage and coordinate the use of VR equipment in a classroom
It's true that implementing new technology into the classroom requires some additional learning from educators and without previous experience with virtual reality technology it might be daunting at first.
Luckily quite many companies provide free mentoring programs on how to train teachers at your school to start using VR devices without the extra headache.
If you would like to receive Futuclass FREE 6-week mentoring program slides and materials, please contact us here.
Myth #9: VR has privacy issues and potential data breaches
There is a common misconception that Virtual Reality is not secure, leading to concerns about privacy and potential data breaches.
XR headsets can scan and analyze the space around students wearing them in detail, similar to room scans used for proctoring, and also track students’ unique movements, interactions with objects, facial features and biometric data, among other data points.
Educators and institutions must know if data such as this is stored locally on the device or in the cloud, and whether the collection itself could violate current federal or state student privacy regulations.
Schools should establish clear guidelines for data collection, storage, and usage, ensuring compliance with relevant data protection laws and obtaining appropriate consent from students and parents.
By implementing robust privacy policies and employing secure technologies, educators can harness the power of VR while safeguarding student privacy and fostering a safe learning environment.
Myth #10: You cannot do VR classes unless you have a headset for every student.
Not true. When faced with a situation where there aren't enough VR headsets to accommodate all students in a class, educators can still leverage the benefits of virtual reality through shared lesson plans.
Fortunately, many educational content providers, like Futuclass Education have recognized this challenge and offer ready-made shared lesson plans specifically designed for classroom settings with limited VR resources.
These shared lesson plans typically involve a combination of VR experiences and traditional teaching methods. Educators can guide students through the VR content using a few VR headsets while other students participate in related activities, discussions, or worksheets.
Myth #11: Teachers are not doing any work using VR in their classrooms
False. Virtual Reality is never going to replace teachers in the classroom. Implementing virtual reality into your classroom is providing you with additional methods and tools to get students engaged and motivated to learn.
BONUS: Myth #12: If you put on VR goggles you are ‘gone’ and there is no way to control what students do ‘there’
There's a common misconception, that VR headsets keep students in a separate environment.
However, it's not true. Educators are able to share content, monitor student activities, and ensure a synchronized and focused learning environment.
To achieve effective device control and content sharing, various solutions are available.
One common approach is to use VR management software or applications specifically designed for classroom environments.
These tools enable teachers to control multiple VR devices from a central interface, facilitating content distribution, and monitoring capabilities. Some VR management software even allows for remote device management, eliminating the need for physical proximity between the teacher and the VR headsets.
One of the top-mentioned solutions to manage your XR fleet is ArborXR. With ArborXR you can control a fleet of stand-alone headsets from a web admin site, launch content, monitor their status, and a number of other things.
Alternatively, wireless streaming solutions can be employed to mirror the content displayed on one VR device to other connected devices. This enables all students to view the same content simultaneously, fostering a shared experience and facilitating group discussions.
Last but not least, screen-sharing applications or casting devices can be utilized to mirror the VR device's screen to a larger display, allowing the entire class to observe and participate in the VR experience collectively.
Some educational VR content providers like Futuclass has Teacher Portal implemented in the service. With Futuclass Teacher Portal, you can configure your account and manage your content and learners, create classes, and monitor performance from a single place.
BONUS: Myth #13: Most educational VR is (and should be) available for free
We´d love that, but unfortunately no.
Developing a well-made and well-designed, both pedagogically and from a UX perspective, the app requires a lot of talent and effort.
For example, Futuclass Education is developing chemistry lessons in virtual reality, is holding about 3 test sessions a week with approximately 12-15 students per session just to provide a seamless and pedagogically rich app experience for students.
This means that up to 45 unique students with a fresh perspective give feedback to our interface and game logic every week. Thanks to this feedback we can confidently stay on course and move towards a well-polished end-product, with multiple iterations every week.