Experiencing history - how virtual reality can change school education

Remember when you were in elementary and had that boring history lesson where the teacher told you about the speech of Socrates or Robert Lee's war tactics at Gettysburg? If you had a great teacher, you might have even enjoyed it. If you weren't so lucky it was a pile of random names and number, with the occasional illustration. Well, how about actually being on the battlefield at Gettysburg, or standing on the Forum Romanum and listen to that speech in live? We are almost there with virtual reality.

Virtual reality has to be accessible for everyone

Tools for education have to be cheap. Schools, especially public institutions don't have a much to splurge on, unfortunately. The good news is, kids have pretty good smartphones nowadays, and Cardboards are affordable; well within a school's budget. The second option would be a super cheap virtual reality kit, so all kids can buy it and bring it to school (or use it at home). We believe this second option will become the norm eventually. 

Be gentle with young brains

Gettysburg was a bloodbath, there's no other way to put it. (And it was a relatively peaceful encounter compared to Verdun or Stalingrad.) Designing an educational virtual reality experience has to take this into account. History might be ugly sometimes, but learning has to be fun. You don't want to scare your students away. Obviously, as they grow up, virtual reality education materials can open more and more angles of history. 

Keep the conversation going

Virtual reality in education changes the whole experience of learning things, but it won't necessarily change pedagogy. Virtual experiences might be mind blowing, but teachers will have a much higher responsibility to discuss those experiences, put them in context, and to keep the conversation going. These experiences are so much more meaningful if there's a group share them with.