Now more than ever, teachers are learning how to incorporate the latest technology in order to find ways to connect with their students, so when they can’t be there in person, they can still teach efficiently.
Virtual reality started out for entertainment purposes but it is now being used as a teaching tool as well. STEM kits come with 360-degree cameras that enable teachers to take photos of historical community sites. This, in turn, enables school children to learn about their local history. Expanding on that idea, there is also the Google Expeditions application. Classrooms all over the world have no boundaries when it comes to exploring the planet. Overlaying old and new photos of areas are still something that captures everyone’s attention. In addition to virtual travel, augmented reality helps bring inanimate objects and abstract ideas to life with added information.
Digital field trips are another great way to broaden students’ horizons. There is much less risk involved, and the costs is far less than an actual field trip, plus there aren’t other groups or crowds to worry about. The Google Tour Creator provides a 360-degree virtual tour that blends historical photos with modern-day. With a VR headset, you can choose to have extra information about any given artifact or area simply with the press of a button.
Interacting with the community is another great use for teachers and technology. By bringing VR headsets to local nursing homes and care facilities, the children can experience the joy of bringing happiness to someone who would otherwise never have experienced this type of experience. Many residents experience virtual reality for the first time because of these wonderful educational efforts.
Virtual reality can also be a great tool for teaching math and literacy. Students can do it in their own home on a flexible schedule. For the gifted and talented programs, the tools are being used for next-level projects with art and music. For many teachers, it is rewarding just to observe their students discover the non-gaming benefits of virtual and augmented technology.
Integrating social media is another way to interact with students using a medium they can relate to. It also prepares them for the real world, when they will be formulating business emails and using internet etiquette. Gathering student feedback is also easier because a student might feel freer to digitally express themselves or fill out an online anonymous form. Sometimes, just the act of typing is preferable to writing.