May 16, 2022

Teaching and Learning with Educational VR

Kai XR

The world is changing faster than ever, with bold new technologies emerging every day. Educators consistently tackle the challenge of keeping pace with these innovations by finding new ways to utilize tech in the classroom. Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive, 3D environment that can be explored and interacted with, and is among these emergent technologies. Educational VR is an engaging learning and teaching tool that has evolved into a cornerstone of classroom technology.

The growth of education into an increasingly digital space in the mid- and post-pandemic world underscored the necessity of educational technology. It also demonstrated how many online learning resources are ineffective, confusing, or far too error-prone to reliably be used with students. An effective digital educational should:

  • Support deeper learning, not only rote memorization
  • Accommodate different learning styles and needs
  • Consider developmentally-appropriate practices for students
  • Be student-friendly and easy to access

Technology has made our world more and more interconnected over the last century. Now, the world is expanding in a new direction, as the lines between the real and the digital are blurred. The metaverse, or space where the physical and digital worlds blend, is becoming more mainstream.

Kids are already learning in the metaverse through games like Roblox, where they can interact with digital environments that continue to grow and change even after they log off. While it might sound futuristic, this technology is already here, and it is contributing to classrooms around the world in powerful ways.

One of the ways educators already bring the metaverse into their classrooms is through virtual reality. Educational VR can support the diverse learning needs of students, while opening up possibilities for them to explore novel learning opportunities. 

The VR classroom enables educators to bring their students into the metaverse, heightening their learning with incomparable opportunities and experiences. VR enhances student learning in many ways, like:

  1. Fostering critical thinking
  2. Representing content in multiple ways
  3. Demonstrating real-world connections for learning
  4. Supporting social-emotional learning

Virtual reality designed for educational use is transforming classrooms. At Kai XR, we’re creating tools that make it easy to bring this new evolution of learning into your classroom. Our virtual reality field trips are created to support learners of all ages and content from all subject areas. Kai XR strives to empower teachers to break down educational barriers, making an immersive and engaging education more accessible to all students.

Kai XR’s virtual field trips are created by educators with students’ learning experience at the forefront We know that every student learns differently, so we strive to create turnkey educational VR content. You can explore them here.

What Makes VR a Powerful Educational Tool?

Educational technology has become a staple of classrooms everywhere. From tablets to interactive whiteboards, educators maximize the potential of these innovations to enhance their teaching and support their students. As more research supports its efficacy, educators have increasingly adopted VR into their repertoires of classroom tech.

Virtual reality uses technology to present a unique opportunity for students to learn by doing. When students engage with content in not just a cognitive way, but also in sensory, emotional, and kinesthetic ways, more neural pathways are formed in the brain. VR supports this type of active learning by bringing students into the metaverse, allowing them to experience content firsthand. 

When students learn through the experiences virtual reality can provide, it leads to better skill acquisition and improved long-term retention. This technology can also provide these benefits to more students than other methods. VR can accommodate diverse educational needs and exceptionalities to help teachers provide differentiated academic support.

Educational virtual reality can also support multiple learning styles. For example:

  1. Auditory learners are supported by hearing explanations, conversations, environmental sounds, and more in VR
  2. Visual learners are supported by watching demonstrations, seeing new places, and making observations in VR
  3. Kinesthetic learners are supported by practicing hands-on skills, manipulating virtual tools, and moving through a new environment in VR

Side view of open laptop. Hand wearing a fit watch points to it. Hand of another person scrolls on the trackpad.
Image source: unsplash.com

21st-Century Learning and VR

VR can support learning in every subject area. It can even allow students to gain hands-on career experience. When students are immersed in experiential learning through VR, they also learn much more than academic content alone.

Educators know the importance of teaching 21st-century skills to equip students for success long after they leave the classroom. VR makes this critical task easier for teachers by:

  • Encouraging communication as students experience, observe, share, and discuss new things
  • Fostering collaboration as students work together to solve problems and make discoveries
  • Supporting creativity as students experiment with new experiences and interests
  • Developing critical thinking as students can analytically consider and examine immersive environments

Communication and social-emotional learning skills are essential for students to develop, and VR can help students further these abilities. The immersive nature of virtual reality also allows students to engage emotionally with the materials. This strengthens their empathy by allowing them to take on the perspective of someone else.

VR educational games, apps, and experiences support students holistically, challenging them to learn and explore in entirely new ways. Virtual reality also supports the needs of students at different developmental levels, showing the impact VR can have on learners of all ages.

Students like Jerome Foster II are spearheading innovations of tomorrow by utilizing virtual reality. Jerome was exposed to VR through his computer science class at his high school, Washington Leadership Academy in Washington DC. National Geographic selected him to go to Iceland for two weeks to document the entire island in virtual reality, “to show how climate change is impacting the country in different ways, from tourism to invasive species to glaciers disappearing.”

Foster is now a college student at NYU, a virtual reality developer, and a climate change activist. He uses his skills to show the influential power of VR in affecting real-world change. His technology-fueled activism has landed him in the White House, serving as an advisor to the president on environmental justice.

Teach and Learn in the Metaverse

At Kai XR, we’re committed to making immersive VR learning accessible and empowering students to unlock their potential. Our goal is to create inclusive, diverse, and safe learning environments by bringing immersive virtual field trips into classrooms.

Every school has different resources. Some might have VR headsets, while others only recently adopted laptops for students. Even beyond technology, the resources in the communities surrounding each school differ. Not every school has meaningful historical sites or museums nearby, with guides and tours available to enrich student learning.

Access shouldn’t be a barrier to high-quality learning. We’re creating tools to make purposeful, technology-forward learning available to more students than ever before.

Other VR educational apps and metaverse games require expensive equipment, like virtual reality headsets and motion sensors. Kai XR’s virtual field trips work great on these, and on any other device, like:

  1. Smartphones
  2. Laptops
  3. Tablets
  4. Desktops

We know it can be challenging to create lessons that immerse students in learning. Our resources can help by putting VR at your students’ fingertips using devices they already have, making it hassle-free to bring this tech into the classroom.

With over 100 virtual reality field trips, they can seamlessly fit into any lesson or unit to deepen student learning. Our virtual field trips make it easy for teachers to integrate VR into their lesson by:

  • Pairing every virtual field trip with a viewing guide to make lesson planning faster
  • Using resources already available in most classrooms
  • Fitting into any time available in your students’ schedule

Educators everywhere know the familiar frustration of wracking your brain for a way to make a standard come to life, or how to spark excitement in your students when they hit a slump. Educational technology like VR can provide a much-needed change of pace, keeping your class’s momentum moving forward, while invigorating them with a fresh new experience.

Field trips have long been shown to lead to better outcomes for students. They boost graduation rates, improve knowledge retention by demonstrating real-world connections, and help students broaden their interests.

Virtual field trips achieve these benefits and more by leveraging the perks of experiential learning with the power of immersive technology. These immersive activities support student learning holistically, challenging their critical thinking, cognitive learning, and social-emotional skills at once.

Screenshot of Kai XR's virtual field trip interface. Bright graphics in a grid against a purple-black background.

Using Kai XR’s Educational VR Field Trips in the Classroom

Kai XR’s virtual field trips are among the best educational VR resources to enrich your lessons and create deeper meaning for students of all ages. VR field trips are also flexible, and can fit into your lessons in many ways. Educators can use these resources to:

  • Provoke inquiry when introducing a new topic
  • Review and invoke prior knowledge at the beginning of a unit or lesson
  • Encourage students to practice new skills
  • Practice making and recording observations
  • Provide context, inspiration, and vocabulary for writing assignments
  • Review content before a test.

Whether you’re studying space, ancient civilizations, or even exploring career options, our virtual field trips can support learning in every subject area. Some of our virtual field trips include:

  1. History: Egyptian Pyramids
  2. Career Exploration: Aerospace Engineering
  3. Science: Explore a Volcano
  4. Literature: My Brother’s Keeper
  5. Fun and Educational: Nickelodeon HQ

History VR Field Trip: Egyptian Pyramids

Envisioning times long ago in places across the world can be challenging for students, making it difficult for them to connect to history. Transport your students to the foot of the pyramids to help history come to life with Kai XR’s Egyptian Pyramids VR field trip.

This field trip can powerfully supplement social studies units on the history of ancient Egypt. It allows students to observe details of the pyramids as if in-person, such as their immense scale, their construction, and the landscape they stand within.

Use this field trip before diving into studying the pyramids to spark inquiry. Encourage your students to generate and record questions while exploring this field trip. They may wonder how an ancient civilization constructed such massive pyramids, what they are made of, or even how they have stood for so long.

Use these questions as discussion prompts throughout the unit. This field trip can also extend into a writing prompt as students find these answers, giving them an opportunity to record and explain their new learning.

Career Exploration VR Field Trip: Aerospace Engineering

Students of all ages dream about one day working with NASA. Aeronautics and space exploration are constantly evolving, leading to exciting new discoveries and inventions. From the space shuttles to the James Webb Space Telescope, brilliant minds at NASA are constantly leading the way to new innovations.

Kai XR’s Aerospace Engineering virtual field trip allows your students to meet one of these brilliant minds. During this field trip, your students will explore aerospace laboratories with Tiera, a NASA scientist working to design a spaceship that could someday take people to Mars, as their guide.

This field trip makes a great accompaniment to units focusing on space to demonstrate the technology involved in sending astronauts to the International Space Station and beyond. It can also support STEAM activities by showing students what the end results of the engineering process can be.

This virtual field trip provides students with an interactive way to explore a potential future career path. It will show them the real people working on larger-than-life projects, inspiring them to pursue their own dreams and goals. Tiera’s tenacity and achievements can guide students in understanding how to follow their own path to success.

Science VR Field Trip: Explore a Volcano

The power of volcanoes captures the wonder of students. These scarce natural phenomena are as destructive as they are awe-inspiring. Kai XR’s Explore a Volcano field trip lets students watch a volcanic eruption from up close, personally experiencing the intensity of these fascinating events.

Connect this field trip to an Earth science unit focusing on geology. Utilizing it as a capstone after studying volcanoes would provide students with a meaningful, hands-on way to apply what they learned during the unit.

Challenge your students to take on the role of geologists and complete a field report detailing the volcanic eruption. To do so, your students will need to record their observations during the virtual field trip, giving them a chance to practice using domain-specific scientific vocabulary.

For example, students might use their observations to explain if the volcano is a cinder cone, shield, or composite volcano. They can also explain if they saw magma or lava, and details about the eruptions, like whether a pyroclastic flow was observed.

Kai XR’s Explore a Volcano virtual field trip gives students the opportunity to watch a great force of nature in action. This immersive experience will bring their learning to life, while solidifying their content knowledge with real-world connections.

Literature VR Field Trip: My Brother’s Keeper

My Brother’s Keeper is a classic piece of literature centered around the Civil War. This novel confronts the difficulties of balancing loyalty with family, and the steep price that keeping secrets can have. It has been a staple of English classrooms for decades.

Help your students envision scenes from this book with Kai XR’s My Brother’s Keeper virtual field trip. Pairing this field trip with a novel study will help bring this book to life by allowing your students to engage with the words on the page in a new way.

This virtual field trip will take students to pivotal scenes and moments from the novel, ranging from Antietam, Maryland to the midst of a Civil War battle. As your students explore the virtual field trip, encourage them to record each location they visit on a graphic organizer. Then, they can use this graphic organizer to summarize events from the text that happened in each location, as well as the significance of that event.

The My Brother’s Keeper field trip shows the power of futuristic VR technology to help us explore the past. This VR experience is ushering in a new way to teach literature by immersing students in the worlds of the stories they read.

Fun and Educational VR Field Trip: Nickelodeon HQ

For everything from brain breaks to indoor recess, it can be a challenge to find activities for students that are both fun and educational. Technology like VR makes it easier than ever to gamify activities in the classroom to engage kids while still keeping their minds at work.

The VR field trip to visit the Nickelodeon HQ fills the niche of quality content that still teaches kids something. Exploring the animation studio that is home to shows like Spongebob Squarepants and Big Nate, is an exciting activity your students will love that feels more like play than learning.

During this field trip, students will get a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes of animation studios. They’ll even meet some of the people who bring their favorite characters to life.

The Nickelodeon HQ virtual field trip is an engaging way for students to learn about the creation of TV shows and movies they love. It also exposes them to a few career paths open to visual and virtual artists. This virtual field trip makes using VR educational and fun alike.

Immerse Your Students in Experiential Learning with Educational VR

Educational virtual reality apps, games, and experiences are fun and engaging ways to approach teaching and learning in the classroom. The future of working and learning with technology is here, and educators are constantly looking for new ways to prepare students with the 21st-century skills they will need to thrive.

Using VR with students has many remarkable benefits, including supporting their critical thinking abilities and helping them develop increased empathy. It also supports learning in various ways, including:

  • Accommodating multiple learning styles
  • Presenting content in a developmentally-appropriate way
  • Helping students make real-world connections

Kai XR’s virtual reality field trips can support student learning in any lesson or content area, using technology in any device they can access.

Ready to get started? Have questions? Email us at Explore@kaixr.com We’re happy to help! Getting started today by signing up for Kai XR. Empower your students to break barriers in the classroom and beyond with Kai XR.

Featured Image: Pexels

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