Unless you live under a rock, you know that virtual reality is here! Huge companies like Apple and Google are heavily investing in the technology. But how can Virtual Reality translate to the world of Academia? Here are six ways that VR can be game changing for colleges and universities.
1. Virtual Reality Tours
Several colleges across the country and world have already started offering virtual reality tours. For a student that lives in Maine but is interested in visiting schools in California, virtual reality offers an extremely cost effective way to become truly immersed in a campus. The tours also allow students to go at their own pace while having the option to listen to any number of languages. It’s no surprise why hundreds of colleges already offer this type of service.
2. Collaborative Work Space
Whether it’s a professor’s office hours or group projects, students and professors will always need to collaborate. The only issue is that students had to physically be present for most these. So how do we at nuMedia solve this problem? Simple, we create virtual reality collaborative work spaces! By providing avatars and the ability to effectively communicate concepts and ideas across large distances, virtual reality collaborative work spaces, along with custom productivity tools, can be a powerful tool. Draw sketches in 3-D space, edit in real-time and annotate as a team, all of which provides for a creative environment that has the potential to be even more powerful than face to face communication!
3. College Recruiters
Some teachers have a hard time engaging 20 high school students in a classroom, yet college recruiters must interact with hundreds while competing against other recruiters at college fairs. Instead of giving out pens or another type of swag, recruiters can provide a virtual reality experience. From experiencing Spirit Splash at the University of Central Florida to the Sun God Festival at UC San Diego, virtual reality delivers a much more interactive and memorable experience than a few pamphlets or photos.
4. Hands on Work
Several professionals such as surgeons, lab technicians, and archeologists require a large amount of hands on work. Traditionally, students training for these professions would have to either read about the intricate aspects of their future jobs, or travel to a specific area on campus and vie with others in their area of study for materials and attention. Virtual reality can alleviate these problems by providing hands on training programs that go beyond traditional methods. From working on patients to handling artifacts and equipment, virtual reality training programs are an incredibly powerful tool for any educational program.
5. Live Game Experience
Both Fox Sports and The Big Ten Network utilized virtual reality this year to stream live football and basketball games. While not the same as attending an event, a virtual reality streamed game provides several unique opportunities. Fans can see the game from different viewpoints based on the placement of 360 degree cameras around the stadium. Not only are they able to watch the game, but virtual reality provides an interactive aspect where fans can control their experience by watching highlights and other programmed options. These are just a few of the reasons why virtual reality streamed games results in more viewers.
6. Total Immersion
Imagine instead of just watching a movie about the American Civil War, you could be transported to a pivotal battle or meeting. The idea may sound like it’s from a sci-fi movie, but virtual reality can make it happen! A student can feel the power of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches or watch the Berlin Wall fall by simply putting on their headset. These kinds of immersive experiences provide unique learning experiences that students can take with them for the rest of their lives.
All six of these applications for virtual reality can differentiate universities and colleges from their competition. Although we highlighted just six use cases, virtual reality can be used in hundreds of different ways for universities and colleges. Don't be surprised if virtual reality becomes common place in academia.