Virtual Reality

Report: Most Educators Want to Try VR in Classroom

Virtual reality (VR) is on the rise. Less than a quarter of educators (23 percent) have tried out VR in their schools so far, and most of that effort has been in science (52 percent) vs. history (29 percent), engineering (20 percent) or any other subject. However, the majority of educators (55 percent) surveyed said they do expect to use VR in the future, because they believe it could excite "students to learn" (68 percent), encourage "creativity" (39 percent), make "difficult concepts easier" (32 percent) and reduce the cost for "field trips" (23 percent).

Those are a few of the results that came out of a survey about VR recently sponsored by Extreme Networks, which sells networking hardware, software and services. According to the company, people from 349 schools participated.

Right now, the biggest challenges respondents reported in the use of VR in education were insufficient VR content (47 percent), expense or difficulty in implementing VR (43 percent), concern that VR might prove distracting to students (22 percent) and the possibility that VR might be "too hard to manage during class" (21 percent).

The most popular brand of VR in use is Google, which has produced an inexpensive cardboard-based VR headset that works with a smartphone, in use by 74 percent of educators who said they have tried VR in their classrooms. Oculus, Samsung and Microsoft HoloLens received less attention; those brands have been used by fewer than 20 percent of respondents.

The primary providers of VR content are Google (35 percent), YouTube (24 percent) and Oculus (15 percent). All other providers showed up in the single digits.

"The major take-away of the survey is that virtual reality has an important and growing role in education, but it's going to take a while, perhaps several years, to get all schools on board," wrote Bob Nilsson, Extreme's director of education marketing, in a blog article that shared the results. "VR isn't regularly used, and 40 percent of schools still aren't sure if they'll use the technology in the future. Very few — only 3 percent — are taking VR to the next step and teaching students how to code and create VR content."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.