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Educational content in Virtual Reality

VR Marketplace

location_on Russia
The FEFU NTI Center is developing a system of introduction of VR/AR technologies in education. A unique educational platform includes VR applications for chemistry, physics, ESL, biology, math and history.
Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created on June 22nd, 2020
Key figures

Innovation Overview

ALL
Target Group
300
Children/Users
1
Country
2018
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
210
Views
Updated on January 28th, 2021
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about the innovation

What is VR Marketplace?

What we do?

We develop software and methodology to enhance teaching and learning by means of virtual reality. Our applications help students build real-life knowledge and skills through simulated experiences that are inaccessible in the regular classroom.

Why we do it?

Our mission is to make high quality education accessible and affordable for every student in Russia, regardless of his or her cultural, territorial or socio-economic background. Virtual Reality allows teachers to accommodate students with various needs and abilities, improve classroom engagement and bring problem solving to a new level. We strive to make education relevant and enjoyable so that every child has an equal chance to succeed in the real world.

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See this innovation in action

Virtual Reality as an additional stage between a frightening reality and a safe classroom
Many students complain that when they are exposed to the "real language" in the streets, bars or at work, they face an absolutely different language from what they were taught in the classroom. However, is this actually the teacher's fault? The truth is that any language is an incredibly complicated system with endless exceptions within it. Even some native speakers cannot acquire completely the full range of linguistic tools available in their mother tongue. So how can we demand it from people who start learning a language from the alphabet? Even if teachers maximize their effort by offering a wide range of exercises and practise in the classroom, acquiring a language is mostly the student's responsibility.  There is a wide range of additional techniques and methods that help students move their way from the safe classroom to the "hostile" foreign language real-world environment. For instance, students can watch untranslated movies, listen to the radio or modern songs, or start exchanging letters or audio-messages with their native penpals. Also, there is one more very powerful tool that is developing right now: this is virtual reality.  There are many distinct ways VR can be applied to language learning. The main benefit, however, is the following: a 3D-modelled environment helps students to feel that they are actually present in a particular place. At the same time, learners still feel safe because they can escape their experience at any given moment. As a result, they can control the environment and practise experiencing a "bearable level" of fear or anxiety. Thus, instead of going to a real bar and risking failure at their very first communicative experience, a student can practise in a virtual bar first, having an opportunity to prepare himself or herself psychologically.  Obviously, this hypothesis needs testing and research, even though some positive results have already been published. It must be admitted that in the current stage of VR and AI development, advantages are not obvious to everyone. However, the rapid progress in the technology itself as well as the attitudes towards it are moving in a very positive direction.
Thoughts on Marketing VR to the Russian Educational System
In recent years, virtual reality is actively conquering educational institutions. Growing educational markets promise constant investments in this sphere from both public and private customers. So, can Russia become one of the large markets and appeal to educational content-developers in the near future? First of all, it is important to clarify what kind of educational content is expected in the Russian Federation. After the "hype times" and experimenting with primitive cardboards, teachers started looking for the real purposes behind VR technology, trying to find the answer to the following questions. How effective is this technology? Why should we use it? Can it improve student's achievements? Is there something fundamentally new in an immersive educational content? Discussions of these topics have led to two points of view on VR as an educational technology: fun-oriented and results-oriented. According to the first approach, VR is a great tool for student motivation. Thus, VR-content must be appealing, engaging, interesting and not necessarily more effective than the chalkboard. In other words, if a school can afford VR-headsets and both teachers and learners are happy to use it, then the school administration makes a decision to implement VR practice in the curriculum. This view is predominant at the moment in many Western schools, where the happiness of the students is seemingly no less important than their academic results. In Russia, where education historically is results-oriented, academic performance is always the first priority. Thus, implementing new technology must have a grounding and solid reasons backing it. Despite the advantages of this position, it has two main flaws. First, proving the effectiveness of VR in education will take the time and the effort of many content-producers and researchers. Second, once the decision is made, it is made for the whole system of Russian secondary education: the majority of schools are public, and they are financed directly from the federal budget. As a result, all the teachers will be forced to implement the technology, even if they are not ready for it or appreciative of it.  Therefore, the decision on implementing VR in Russia depends on the government, which sponsors all the changes in the educational system. It is not enough for VR-content developers to put their products on Steam or any other marketplace and wait for schools to buy it. Conventional promotion of VR products won’t be effective by itself either. In order to implement VR in the Russian educational system, the industry must demonstrate the effectiveness of this technology to the decision-makers.    
Virtual Reality Training Simulation for Basic State Exam in Physics Preparation According to experts, the most difficult topics in Physics are combined into Magnetism. The NTI Center and Modum Lab Company are conducting research based on Magnetism training simulations that include the following topics: Electromagnetic Phenomena, Magnetism, Electromagnetic Induction, which will give an idea of the most effective solutions in teaching Physics with the help of VR. The course includes 4 theory sessions, 5 workshops, and problem solving.
Virtual Reality Training Simulation for Basic State Exam in Chemistry Preparation VR Chemistry LAB — the development of the STEM Game Consortium company member — is an instrumental to give each student the opportunity to conduct chemical experiments on their own. The NTI Center and STEM Games are conducting a study that will provide insight into the most effective solutions for chemistry education with the help of VR. The work includes the development of a collection of 8 sessions, including the pedagogical scenarios for each session, VR work scenarios, and recommendations for the organization of classes.
VR in Russian Schools
Even though virtual reality has arisen in the gaming industry, it has now become very popular in the fields of medicine, the military sphere, arts, and industry in general. Education, however, has embraced VR more slowly. Despite the many advantages of this technology, barriers for implementation are still too high within the education field, especially for public schools. Some private institutions, on the contrary, have more vigorously tried to experiment with VR/AR technologies. There are three ways to use these technologies in the classroom: 1) Videos-360, which are the easiest way to introduce VR to students. For example, during a geography lesson a teacher can "take" the class to Machu Picchu. Virtual museums, excursions and other VR-experiences of this kind are used in many educational institutions at the present time.  2) Social VR, which includes different platforms such as EngageVR, Ruumi, VTime, etc. These are good for collaborative learning or foreign language practise. 3) Interactive VR-applications, which can be downloaded from a number of different marketplaces. These apps can be used both in the classroom or as a part of homework. Good examples are InMind2, The BodyVR, Human Anatomy VR, and MEL Chemistry. VR Marketplace which is being developed at the FEFU NTI Center will become the biggest in Russian market. More than VR itself (as long as an extra budget for this technology exists) schools more importantly need VR/AR-evangelists. If a decision to implement a new technology has been made, then teacher training programs are crucial for the project’s success. A new community must be built through collaboration, seminars, workshops, webinars, etc. Teachers should use their pedagogical skills and professional knowledge as they adopt VR/AR technology, otherwise the endeavor will end in failure.

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June 2020
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
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