Let’s be honest, virtual reality is the future of STEM education. How else can we solve problems facing billions of people around the globe?
STEM education is gaining popularity thanks to the advancement in technology. The US Bureau of Statistics estimates that by 2022, STEM jobs will increase by approximately 30%. The career is hot globally.
Despite the bright future in such careers, the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education unraveled that about 69% of students enrolled in the program do not complete their education. Some of them drop out to other programs, while others leave college permanently.
In a quest to find out why this was so, students blamed the intense theory and little practical applications in their study programs. To solve this challenge, some institutions in partnership with developers have opted for virtual reality as a viable alternative to make learning practical and exciting.
Planting seeds of curiosity
VR helps students regardless of their education level to appreciate the practical aspect and importance of STEM in today’s society. This is important when plating curiosity in young learners and might help them pursue STEM in high institutions of learning. For instance, the zSpace virtual makes it possible for students to relate to space, enjoy learning and take their education seriously with confidence.
Aids students with special needs
Previously, delivering quality education to struggling students was nerve-racking. Fortunately, VR improves access to deep learning despite their cognitive challenges. Virtual reality makes learning opportunities accessible to all.
Micro-experiences for learning
It is common knowledge that out-of-class experiences enhance student’s retention and learning. That is why internships are good and why undergraduate research and even studying abroad is encouraged. Such experiences benefit students of all backgrounds.
However, such programs require resources and personnel, something that most institutions don’t have. In addition, some students only have access to these programs. VR technology is affordable and ubiquitous, making it easily accessible to all students. Instead of traveling abroad, a student simply walks into the library, uses a VR headset and takes the virtual trip.
Apart from virtual travels, VR boosts training. Virtual labs can be used by STEM students. While the micro-experiences do not replace real labs and working with other researchers, they prepare students on how to safely access equipment, improve curiosity and access state-of-the-art laboratories.
Transforming Critical Thinking
Utilization of VR pushes educational impact to its optimum potential. VR fosters the creation of cutting-edge portfolios, especially for architect and design students. Currently, most architects are able to create amazing designs and see the result without necessarily investing a lot in the physical structure. With VR portfolio, the designers will have the capability to virtually share the end product experience with potential clients and with investors to access funds.
STEM Students Collaboration
Globally, there are various challenges. Some of them are country-specific while others are common to all of us. To solve some of these challenges, STEM students need to work together regardless of their geographical location. For instance, students from developing countries can effectively contribute their ideas to solve specific challenges with their peers in other nations.
Through the use of virtual reality, students are able to experience what is happening globally without necessarily traveling. This collaboration enhances problem-solving skills and creativity enabling fast development of solutions facing various societies around the world.
Virtual reality is now real. It brings diversity into the classroom, hands, and minds of everybody. That ability to experience something is what makes VR unique for education.