We’ve been hearing a lot recently about virtual reality (VR) as one of the hot new trends in education. VR will revolutionize learning, we’re told, because of its immersive qualities and its ability to transport students to previously inaccessible places, like inside a cell or to a penguin colony in Antarctica.
While I agree with the potential of VR to open up exciting new possibilities in education, in reality (no pun intended), I believe we’re 5-10 years away from 3D VR going mainstream in classrooms in K12 or higher ed. This is because 3D VR requires a headset that, while less expensive than they used to be, requires extra spend and maintenance that most schools aren’t equipped to take on. It’s taken the better part of two decades for schools to provide laptops to students, and many schools still are not one-to-one. Schools don’t adopt new technology quickly and VR is unlikely to be an exception.
(There’s another little problem with VR which is that some people experience vertigo and nausea when wearing a VR headset. Imagine if VR becomes a standard learning tech and some percentage of students vomit while watching the construction of the Sphinx…)