Computers have been used to teach basic mathematics and reading since the 1960s. Today, with the use of data analytics and algorithms to adapt the instructional content to each student, still pupils find it difficult when working alone and passively receive information. Joan E. Hughes, an associate professor of learning technologies in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin, writes: “Students sit, read, listen, watch, answer questions and receive feedback. Some students just click randomly through each informational screen until the bell rings (which really messes with predictive analytics). Research has shown these passive uses of tablets are about as effective as a teacher’s lecture. Innovative, progressive teaching with tablet technology requires more creative solutions.”
The key to accomplish this is to find meaningful and engaging methods for intellectually challenging and complex problems. Professor Hughes writes: “For example, in mathematics, students can use simulations of the stock market or owning a pizzeria to apply mathematical skills while also understanding its role in day-to-day life.” In other words, active problem solving and management of real world problems in a virtual reality world.
As the main obstacle, that is cost, for virtual reality and augmented reality applications are about to diminish they will now find its way into school education. Angela Elkordy, Ph.D., Chair of Learning Sciences and Director, Learning Technologies programs, of National Louis University, says: “Boundaries are blurring between entertainment, edutainment and educational content. Virtual reality and augmented reality have huge and exciting potential in the classroom, and we can all look forward to the possibilities.”