Usage areas of virtual reality technology in education

In this article, I tried to examine the usage areas of virtual reality technology in education. In my literature review, I observed that it was used in 10 different areas. Enjoyable readings…

Virtual Reality in Special Education

Virtual reality technology plays an important role in the education of disabled people. It is especially used in the education of visually and mentally handicapped people. It has been used in various ways in mentally retarded children suitable for education. In 2011, 20 children with high-functioning autism from the American Psychiatric Association were placed in a virtual classroom with VR heads, and they were asked to communicate with their virtual peers in the virtual classroom. Thus, it is aimed to contribute to the social development of children with autism.

VR technologies are used among visually impaired individuals, and projects to increase their participation in social life continue. For example; With the Cane Simulation project (Figure 1), Microsoft aims to improve the virtual navigation experience by transferring the white cane skills they use to the virtual world, as well as focusing on visual feedback that is not accessible by visually impaired people in traditional virtual reality environments.

                                                                                                          Figure 1

Virtual Reality in Mathematics and Science Education

Many research and development activities are carried out on the use of virtual reality in mathematics education. Studies have shown that students better assimilate geometric objects in teaching with 3-dimensional modeling. At the same time, it can encourage students to enjoy mathematics learning by transforming mathematics learning into a game. In this context, it will help to make virtual reality mathematics education more effective. Various virtual reality applications have been developed to serve this purpose. As an example; Calcflow application is a graphing calculator (Figures 2 and 3). It helps to explore mathematical theorems and scenarios. Many operations can be performed, such as creating a three-dimensional graph of a parametric equation.

                                                                                                               Figure 2-3

When we look at the usage areas of virtual reality in science, chemistry comes to the fore. Students can see the connection and gravitational forces between molecules and interact in virtual reality environments. As an example, the UK-based company Mel Science provides the structure of isotopes, electrons, ions, periodic table, atoms and molecules, examination and test environments in the interactive laboratory it offers with the Chemistry virtual reality application (Figure 4).

                                                                                                                            Figure 4

Virtual Reality in Social Studies Education

History knowledge comes to the fore in the use of virtual reality technologies in the field of social studies. In particular, virtual tour applications have been put forward in researches that have contributed to history lessons in terms of seeing historical places and museums. In this context, in a study conducted on Virtual Tour Applications in Social Studies Teaching, it was observed that the courses made with virtual tour applications according to traditional teacher techniques and methods increased academic success on students.

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Virtual Reality in Medical Education

In medical and veterinary medicine education, diagnosis and treatment modalities and simulations of surgical operations are carried out in faculties. With the contribution of virtual reality technology, these simulations can be made interactive, cutting and other operations can be performed on tissue and organ holograms by means of an electronic scalpel. Considering the developments in this area; Cooperating with Los Angeles Children’s Hospital in the USA within the scope of the “VR for good” initiative carried out by Facebook’s VR company Oculus, the company, the training of medical students and staff, as well as the correct and fast risky decisions for patients, is a matter of high risk pediatric trauma. developed a virtual reality simulation (Figure 5). In this way, experiences in real-life proximity have been gained,

                                                                                                                           Figure 5

In Turkey, steps have been taken regarding virtual reality in medical education. In 2017, a virtual reality anatomy laboratory was established at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology Faculty of Medicine. In the lessons given to students with head and neck anatomy, it was observed that there was an increase in the success rate of the students in the tests performed with virtual reality before and after.

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Virtual Reality in Foreign Language Education

Educators state that language learning has positive contributions to learning by discovering and doing. Virtual reality applications make a positive contribution to this learning method. In this context, in a scientific research project (Figure 6), he investigated the effects of English learning on students by using the Second Life virtual reality application. As a result of the research, it was stated that the students did their homework by helping and sharing, and the problem solving and orientation skills were activated. At the same time, it was concluded that it contributed positively to the development of writing, reading and speaking, listening skills, as well as English vocabulary and grammar.

                                                                                                                             Figure -6

Virtual Reality in Occupational Health and Safety Training

Virtual reality platforms have started to be used in occupational safety trainings in risky areas such as mining, construction and maritime. For example, the death of people working in the construction industry as a result of falling is the most common situation. In order to prevent such accidents, immersive VR simulations were designed to teach and stimulate workers where and how to take precautions (Figure 7), as well as to use equipment (Figure 8).

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                                                                                                           Figure 7 – 8

Virtual Reality in Military Education

Combat simulation systems are used to contribute to the training of security forces. With the development of the defense industry in Turkey, virtual reality based simulations are being developed. One of them is the Konrul Comtra (Combat Trainig System) system, which is a combat simulation system developed in Turkey (Figure 9). The user of the system can move freely in the simulation without any physical device connected to his body (Figure 10). The working logic of the system; It provides the opportunity to perform real-world movements without any loss of balance in the simulation by providing a combination of eyes and body without any deviation in body movements

                                                                                                              Figure 9-10

Virtual Reality in Driving Education

Virtual reality technologies can provide driving training opportunities such as ships, cars, planes, trains and buses. In virtual reality-based simulations, it helps drivers to gain experience by presenting the potential dangers that may be encountered rarely. In this way, it is aimed to increase the possibility of the driver to intervene in the real life situation with cold blood. For example, in Virtual Reality Bus Training Simulation, the driver sees that the tire is on fire and the passengers are evacuated first (Figure 11) and then the tire is deflated (Figure 12).

                                                                                                                             Figure 11-12

Virtual Reality in Astronomy Education

Misconception in education is also seen especially in science education. In the studies carried out in this field for 40 years, it is stated that students have misconceptions in many subjects in the field of science. One of the effective tools to correct misconceptions about astronomy, which is one of these fields, is virtual reality. Celestia, Stellarium and Solar Model applications were used in a scientific study examining the effect of the academic success and permanence of using virtual reality programs in the teaching of astronomy subjects on students. As a result of the research, it was concluded that the virtual reality applications used contributed greatly to the academic success of the students, contributing to a better understanding of the concepts.

Virtual Reality in Architectural Education

At the beginning of the architectural training, basic design training is given that deals with subjects such as color, texture, mass, occupancy-space within the space. This information, which is given theoretically at the beginning, turns into studio lessons in the following years. As the education curriculum progresses, students must acquire the skills needed to reach the desired performance level. One of these skills is that he can reveal his design so that he can present the design idea he thinks to the individuals in the most appropriate way. Virtual reality technology is also used to meet this need. Benefits obtained by the designer using virtual reality technology;

  • It gives the opportunity to evaluate different alternatives in the design process and to get fast results.
  • It gives a sense of reality to the designer with mutual interaction.
  • When there is no opportunity and opportunity to examine the places that actually exist, it creates an environment for it.
  • It allows the creation of designs that cannot be created and gives the designer the opportunity to visualize and analyze in depth to the smallest detail.

You can also read this article in which I examine the usage areas of augmented reality technology in education .

Source:

  • trakya.edu.tr
  • ACM
  • International Journal of Social Research
  • ASEAD
  • Matematiksel.org
  • The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology
  • researchgate.net
  • Kocatepe Veterinary Journal
  • etu.edu.tr
  • Journal of Hasan Ali Yücel Faculty of Education
  • moderninnova.com
  • 360sanalgerceklik.com
  • ranna.com.tr
  • Mersin University Journal of Education Faculty

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