Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are growing increasingly popular as technology continuously rises. AR adds digital elements to a live view using the camera on a smartphone, while VR provides a complete immersion that shuts down the physical world. Both AR and VR have their own merits in education, as well as their areas of improvement. AR often only involves the use of a smartphone, while VR requires special equipment. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of AR and VR in education and how it can be incorporated into learning.
Both AR and VR allow for experiential learning, especially for experiences that one cannot usually go through. Experiential learning is especially prevalent for VR, since it requires physical movements from the hands and legs. These technologies can help to provide learning of things that could potentially be dangerous or even about history, examples of which include learning about how sharks behave in water or how people fetched water from wells in the past. Instead of only reading or watching videos about these rare experiences, your child is given a “hands-on” opportunity to go through these experiences.
In addition to that, AR also allows your child to have a sense of such experiences while touching back to reality. Since AR uses a live view from the camera, your child will be able to “go through” these experiences while being in reality, since they still in their own surroundings. AR can be particularly useful in understanding the relative size of things that can be rare to come across, which can be animals or even different climates such as snow. AR and VR can spark interest in learning and also allow your child to learn while looking at different perspectives, which can be very valuable.
AR and VR have their merits, but there are also areas that they can be improved on. Like all other forms of technology, AR and VR can be expensive, especially for VR, which requires specialised equipment. The cost of specialised equipment can make it difficult to be integrated into classrooms, especially those that have large numbers of students. Such technologies are also considered to be relatively new, making it rare to find content that is educational while being entertaining.
Such technologies are great at providing your child with an experience, but not so much on information. While it can be engaging to provide an alternate reality for your child to experience, he/she might not learn much just from the experience itself. Since these technologies do not provide any form of information for your child to learn, he/she might simply go through the experience and walk away not learning anything, unless the learning has been very carefully incorporated into the technology. On top of that, AR and VR can also deter social interactions between students, caretakers and parents. Most of the time, AR and VR are individualistic in nature, meaning that the child is the only person engaged at any one point in time. This discourages interactions, unlike in traditional learning.
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AR and VR have their own benefits and roles in education. They can be useful tools to bring out certain elements of learning, quite unlike anything else. As such technologies become more and more advanced, we should also bear in mind that AR and VR should serve as a supplement to other learning materials and not a replacement. Every learning material has their own merits. As educators, we should know how our child learns best and engage them accordingly.