Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Should you be using this in your Classroom?

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Should you be using this in your Classroom?

Have you started thinking about virtual reality and/or augmented reality for your classroom? Doing a Google search on virtual reality and limiting the results to just the past 12 months gives an overwhelming amount of hits. With the advent of the use of VR/AR in the classroom, how do you know where to begin? As with any new learning adventure, I recommend starting by identifying what learning outcome is desired. Then, ask the question, could using VR/AR help accomplish the desired learning outcome in a meaningful way?

Of course, before you, as the classroom teacher, can do that, there are probably a few other questions that need to be answered. Here’s a few to get started:

  1. What is virtual reality?
  2. What is augmented reality?
  3. Is there a difference between the two?
  4. How exactly can this be used in the classroom?

What is Virtual Reality - “virtual reality entails presenting our senses with a computer generated virtual environment that we can explore in some fashion.” For a more thorough definition, use THIS resource.

What is Augmented Reality? - “a very close cousin of virtual reality. Augmented Reality takes the real world of the present and projects digital imagery and sound into it. THIS resource will give more detail on AR.

Is there a difference between VR and AR? The simple answer is a big YES! Here’s a little explanation of the differences (and similarities).
VR transposes the user. In other words, it brings the user “some place else”. VR uses closed visors or goggles and blocks out the room putting the user someplace else. Here’s an example: VR Scuba Diving

AR takes the current reality and adds something to it. It doesn’t move the user elsewhere. AR “augments” the current state of the user. Here’s an example: AR Coloring

How exactly can this be used in the classroom? The word on the educational street is that AR and VR will transform your classroom and education as a whole. One example of the interest in this is the U.S. Department of Education launching a $680,000 challenge for virtual and augmented reality learning experiences in 2016.

Using VR and AR in the classroom virtually (Ha!) has no limits. There are many, many options for incorporating both VR and AR into your lesson plans. Touchstone Research identified the top 10 AR/VR companies for education.

Before I launch into researching the final question, “How exactly can AR/VR be used in the classroom?” I need to know if there is any interest in AR/VR for your classrooms. Please take the Quick Poll below and let me know!

surveys & polls


Augmented Reality - What is it? 2016. Virtual Reality. October.
Cramer, Jonathan Ronzio. 2017. What Is the Difference Between AR and VR? A Lesson in Altered Realities. Cramer. Cramer. January.
Getting Started with VR in Your Classroom. 2017. Virtual Reality for Education. March 13.
Puiu, Tibi. 2016. The Difference between Virtual and Augmented Reality. ZME Science. December.
The Top 10 Companies Working on Education in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. 2016. Touchstone Research.
U.S. Department of Education EdSim Challenge. 2017. EdSim Challenge. March 13.
Virtual Reality. 2017. Virtual Reality. March 13.
What is Virtual Reality? 2017. Virtual Reality.