Virtual Tour & Virtual Reality Resources

Why Use Virtual Tours and Virtual Reality in the Classroom?

More and more educators are integrating virtual tours and virtual reality (VT/VR) into their classroom programs to enhance student learning and engagement. VT/VR bring context to learning for students.

VR is transforming the way educational content is delivered by immersing students in what they’re learning — real or imagined — and by allowing students to interact with it. Being immersed in what you’re learning not only motivates students, but it requires less cognitive load to process the information compared to rote learning. 

There are a number of factors that position VT/ VR as a powerful engagement tool and learning environment for students. We’ve outlined a few below.

NEW! Virtual Tours/ VR Assessment Tasks

Add Context to Learning

When students immerse themselves in a VR environment, they are transported to a place which provides another layer of context to the learning experience. With VR, students are no longer limited to reading or watching a video about a topic. Instead, thanks to the feeling of presence that VR provides, students are now learning about topics by experiencing them. Even though VR experiences aren’t real, the mind believes it’s in a new place which engages the mind in ways that can be very profound for learners.

Provoke and Sustain Inquiry

When students are transported to new learning environments to explore topics and content, what they see and experience inevitably leads to questions and potential inquiries. The quality and complexity of the VR experience may also create opportunities for students to sustain inquiry on their own. 

Learn by Doing

VR by nature is interactive – engaging students as designers and leaders of their own learning. VR can provide a solid anchor for instruction and connect to a meaningful array of multimedia resources that students can engage with in their own way and at their pace.

Connect Emotionally to Learning

Emotional reactions to what students experience are fundamental to learning and forming memories. VR environments are designed to be visually engaging, physically and mentally stimulating, and thought provoking, which activates the brain and releases dopamine and norepinephrine. As dopamine levels increase, students retain new information. When norepinephrine is released, the amygdala – which influences where we direct attention – can help learners be less distracted and more focused. So as students engage with content in VR environments, their brains are being stimulated in ways that support retention of new information and experiences.

Personalize Learning

VR is a powerful personalization tool for learners. Not only are students able to choose the environments they wish to explore, but they have opportunities to self-direct the pace of learning and how they engage with the content. Teachers can further optimize the VR learning experience by selecting collections of tours that differentiate content in ways that align with their students strengths, needs, skills and interests.

Learn Visually 

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65 percent of us are visual learners. 

VR helps all students visualize the content and concepts they are learning making it easier to comprehend. VR is especially helpful when you want students to visualize complex structures, systems or mechanisms (e.g. mechanical systems, body systems, optical systems, mass transit systems, Aboriginal clan systems, health care systems).

Inspire Creativity

VR is useful not only for content consumption, but it’s also great for content creation. Tools such as the VR Tilt Brush can transport students to new levels of creativity like they’ve never experienced before. 

Take Risks

Students who avoid taking risks often don’t feel safe or comfortable enough to do so. While there are many factors that often contribute to those feelings, VR can provide students with an immersive personalized learning environment where they can explore new content on their own. These kinds of individualized experiences can have significant therapeutic outcomes for students who experience anxiety in new learning situations.

Scale Learning Experiences

When it comes to scaling certain learning experiences for students sometimes barriers like cost and distance are prohibitive. VR gives educators the power to expose students to experiences they might not otherwise have in school – like trips to manufacturing plants, botanical gardens, and museums, or access to full technology labs where they can experiment and explore. VR makes scaling unique educational experiences possible.

Explore New Technology

The desire for VR to be designed for educational purposes outweighs gaming 63.9 percent vs. 61 percent. While VR has been historically dedicated to gaming, the market is shifting and more educational VR content is being made available. At Digital Human Library, we have curated the best on the web with over 1800 educational virtual tours and virtual reality experiences. Join us!

K-12 Virtual Tour & VR Assessment Tasks

Digital Human Library’s Virtual Tour & VR Assessment Tasks are aligned with the factors listed above and position VT/ VR as a powerful engagement tool and learning environment for students. VT/VR Assessment Tasks can be used as assessment for, as, and/or of learning.

Evaluate a Virtual Tour/ VR Experience

After participating in a virtual tour or virtual reality experience, why not evaluate it? Working through the process of evaluating a VT/VR experience helps you and your students think critically about what’s important to you as users of that technology. Evaluating VT/VR also provides you and your students with the lens you need to begin creating your own virtual tours.

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