Virtual Reality in the Classroom

MIT’s Dan Roy on the Research Behind Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Welcome to the xR in EDU podcast series. EdTech Times and Boston University have joined together to co-host xR in EDU, an event to explore augmented and virtual realities’ impact on learning across the full spectrum of education. Listen in to our interviews with featured speakers from the event in this series, and join us October 22 to learn more about augmented and virtual reality in education and training today. Visit edtechtimes.com/xrinedu for details.

As the technology behind virtual and augmented reality becomes more advanced, the possibilities of use expand in an exciting way. Now, virtual reality is becoming a realistic option for classrooms. According to Dan Roy, research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers are looking into how to make VR a realistic and helpful option for students.

“We’re exploring now what VR is good for, specifically in the context of education. And some initial thoughts about that: increased engagement, a better way of experiencing environments that rely on spatial sense, so something where size and scale are important,” he says. 

“So like the very big, like outer space, or the very small like the microscopic things that you couldn’t see very well in your day to day life, you might be able to experience in a way that makes it feel more real, more relatable, more compelling.”

With VR’s capabilities, students can learn subjects in an immersive way like never before. But aside from the ‘cool’ experiences, Dan says utilizing VR to learn can help students develop school-related skills, as well as skills that could benefit them throughout their lives.

“The way that we’ve set up the collaboration, people actually have different sense of information and different abilities within the environment,” he says.

“So they actually have to work together, which encourages the people who maybe are familiar with school and with learning being more of an individual experience, it encourages them to take a step out of that and learn some of the collaboration skills will be critical of once they enter the workforce.”

Listen in to our interview with Dan Roy to learn how VR has become a useful tool for teachers and students, and to get a sneak peek of what Dan will be speaking about at xR in EDU.

Want to learn more about the benefits of virtual reality in education? Come to xR in EDU.

Mariel Cariker

Mariel Cariker

Mariel is a Boston-based freelance writer and audio producer who has covered news, technology and innovation for public media groups including WBUR and WGBH. Outside of work, she performs and writes spoken word poetry and voraciously reads true crime novels.