Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that allows users to interact in a computer-simulated environment. Although there are many different types of VR, there are three types that are particularly useful for education.
- The Object VR allows the user to view an object on all sides, zoom in, and zoom out. Text and arrows can point out features and indicate scale. The object VR is particularly useful for identifying 3 dimensional objects such as plants, equipment components, and sculpture.
- The Panoramic VR is a 360 degree view of an environment. This can be part of a virtual tour and can give the user a sense of location.
- A Virtual Showcase can mimic many of the features of a live showcase such as booths, presentations and scheduled speeches and conferences. Developers can go as far as adding ambient crowd noises to the VR site. Due to the virtual nature, participants can visit at their leisure, conferences can be conducted with users across the world and all the information can still be readily available for users at a later date.
All forms of virtual reality allow the users to click on objects to view more information or to move from one element to another. This invites the user to explore aspects of the presentation that appeal to his/her interest.
Application to All Courses
- Allows flexibility and user control within the virtual environment.
- Finds ways to help students recognize patterns; qualitatively understand physical processes; move among different frames of reference and more easily control dynamic models that may contain intangible information.
- Allows users to alternate between exocentric and egocentric frames of reference.