|Mathematics and Virtual Reality: A Perfect Blend For Innovative Mathematics
By Joshua L Davis III
Virtual Reality-based platforms are quickly evolving as industry leading methods to play video games, watch movies and other media, and to learn educational material.
In particular, the myriad of uses that VR technology can assume in the classroom setting is quickly becoming self-evident as a number of schools from the elementary level to the collegiate level implement the technology into their daily functions.
How Does it Work?
Virtual reality was first implemented in the worlds of video-gaming and soldier training modules. Since the time that it was first created for basic use and visualization, the technology behind VR has changed rapidly for the better.
So, how does it work? Virtual reality works by using augmented glasses to let the individual who is wearing them see pictures, videos, data-scapes, figures, rooms, etc. The individual will wear these glasses, which are usually pretty high tech, with a headband for security and tightness. Most VR systems now implement high-quality audio and 1080p video systems, meaning that they can project virtual realities that look, essentially, as real as the world that we live in.
Furthermore, by using virtual reality glasses, the creator of a reality (creator, for short), can allow the viewer to see something from another perspective. For instance, a creator can make a 2D image in a Powerpoint appear as a 3D image that can be walked around, manipulated, and measured in real, virtual space by the viewer in a gray room. In this manner, an idea that can be perceived and created in a creator’s mind can now be seen and understood in a viewer’s mind via VR.
Teachers See Great Classroom Potential
Truly, though, what makes this technology so wonderful is its potential application in a classroom setting. Through past discoveries regarding brain cognition functioning, we have come to understand that a large majority of people do not learn well by reading books. In other words, many individuals on the earth are visual learners, or “left-brained” individuals, as scientists like to call them.
This is even more true in the realm of students, where children are taught by books, have to study by books, and take tests from books. Even lectures don’t suffice in helping that massive demographic of students that function best on a visual level.
With virtual reality learning, the possibilities are endless when it comes to impacting visual, auditory, AND kinesthetic learners.
In certain small instances, teachers have already used virtual reality to teach their classes important lessons. Instead of simply talking about history, students can now use VR to visualize the gladiatorial colosseum, walk around in it, and see how horrible real games would have looked. History won’t just be history anymore…it will be a real, live scenario!
Imagine the impact of teaching about the Kennedy assassination, the US Civil War, or the Great Depression if students can not only read about it and see pictures about it, but if they can “be a part of” what happened! For all students, this technology has the power to impact the minds of children by sparking a true interest in history, improving test scores, and making class sessions more enjoyable for even the most difficult of students.
No More Knowledge Disparity Gap
You see, things are going to change moving forward. It used to be that those students who were able to read the best, study the best, and (in many cases) memorize the best would…be the best. Those students who were considered “smart” versus those who seemed to be “stupid” were practically worlds apart, but the only thing that stood between them was test-taking ability, and that only because many students weren’t good auditory learners.
Well, teachers can use VR to help close the knowledge and learning gap, which will help to empower all students in being the best that they can be moving forward. Truly, I believe that all students will begin to take tests with more proficiency once they really become “involved” with the material instead of just “memorizing” it or simply even “learning” it. To be involved requires effort, which is far more effective than anything we have been able to achieve in the classroom thus far.
What Does VR Mean for Math Teachers?
VR is going to be huge for math. Not only will it allow for students to visualize geometric and algebraic concepts in whole new ways, it will also allow for the game-ifying of concepts that most students don’t care to learn because they don’t care to learn it.
Simply put, many of my friends growing up just didn’t care to learn math. The common theme was “I’m never going to use this garbage in real life, so why should I have to learn it?” Of course, math is critical to most professions, but what’s even more important is that studying math allows the learner to think more critically.
By using VR to game-ify math concepts and theories, teachers will be able to make difficult concepts simpler to understand and way more fun to try and grasp. While many students don’t like math, almost every human on the earth likes games, so this technology will serve to bring students back into the fold who may have left due to continued disinterest.
The development of virtual reality is taking place in a fast-moving, ever-changing industry. Nonetheless, you will want to keep your eye on this technology as it continues to be developed, because it will undoubtedly serve to benefit a wide variety of industries in multiple capacities.
Undoubtedly, VR is the way of the future. It was first suggested as a science in the 1970s, and it would appear as though we are finally making significant steps towards breaching the realm of possibilities in this field. So, strap your goggles on and come along for the ride with the rest of us!
Copyright: 2016, by Joshua L Davis III, Applied Success Education Center