Virtual reality can inspire empathy and strengthen compassion among students

VR has been hovering on the periphery of technology without achieving accepted mainstream application or commercial adoption since the 1950s. But now higher education and K-12 advocates are investing heavily in VR technology. While VR and AR tools are still in the process of development and implementation, in 2018 their use will likely grow, according to the recent Campus Technology report. More important is that now virtual reality can inspire empathy among students.

The technology has a significant role to play in the development of students in both the K-12 and postsecondary space with an option to build compassion in students, according to Richard L. Lamb, an associate professor and the director of the Neurocognition Science Laboratory at the University of Buffalo Graduate School of Education.

Experts believe that compassionate and empathetic campus would improve the overall experience for the students and promote more open discussion with different people with different ideas. It can also be an opportunity gap in the K-12 education process, where a lack of experience makes broader empathy more difficult to conjure. College or university can benefit from this kind of student development with virtual reality.

There’s a clear difference, confirmed by stats, between how human brain processes research in virtual reality and the real world. When a student can’t interact with a particular site or educational material, it can be a beneficial situation for a student and university. In addition, colleges and universities can also use virtual reality in campus tours to inspire empathy of students who can’t physically visit the campus put very interested in studying a particular university. Such a VR tour could enable potential applicants to see how students on campus interact.

Virtual reality headsets can also be used for preparing future educators, trained students who will soon be entering the classroom to teach, many of whom will be teaching in high-needs environments with which they may not be familiar. It will give students an opportunity to practice in the virtual world before moving to the real world.

While the rate of adoption in higher education is rising, some universities are trying to adopt new technologies. For example, the State University of New York embraces VR technology in its daily work. However, some university employees expressed concerns about scaling VR use in classroom discussion. Educators can only interact with students before and after a VR experience but not in the experience conversing with them.

This issue, as many others, could be resolved in coming years but despite some problems and flaws, VR is a tool that will play a vital role in the work of higher education institutions in the near future and can inspire empathy among students.

Author: AI For Education


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