Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are slowly making their way into schools. Depending on the quality of the needed device a VR headset can be a few dollars (i.e. cardboard cutout that uses your smartphone) or a very expensive one costing hundreds of dollars per unit. AR headsets can be just as expensive.
I’m admittedly a bit cautious when new tech is touted as the next ‘best thing’ for education. Are these headsets just a gimmick with lots of fun entertainment value or are they really a way for students to actually go deeper with their learning?
Like most everything, I suppose it depends on how and why you use them.
With so many changes happening in educational technology, it’s particularly easy to get lost in all of the hype and hyperbole. New technology in education really isn’t the goal — instead, technology should be the tool or innovation we might use to more fully achieve the learning potential of our students — increasing their engagement and personal empowerment.
Cool But Kind of Useless
Let’s be clear — some technology is just plain useless. We need to be ever vigilant to not head down the rabbit hole of “shiny and new is always better”. The tech needs to make sense. It needs to make learning better, not just flashier.
I’m not an expert on ‘everything tech’ — probably never will be. But, you don’t have to be an expert in technology to ask some of the important questions:
What does this technology ENABLE that wasn’t possible without it?
Does it truly INNOVATE the learning or just replace something that is ‘less-techy’?
Can it provide greater ACCESS for some students that wasn’t possible before the tech?