Virtual Classroom Software Solutions
For the past few decades, educational spaces have remained unchanged. These spaces included the basics of a classroom, like chairs, tables, books, some decorations, a board, and a projector. Virtual classroom technology leverages the use of virtual reality (VR) to create an immersive learning environment that not just mimics many aspects of the traditional classroom setting, but also provides the ability to explore and learn about different places and eras through virtual field trips.
Both students and teachers can benefit from being able to access virtual classrooms from anywhere. Geographical boundaries are no longer a limitation. They usually just need internet access and a device such as a head mounted display (HMD) or computer.
Another advantage of the virtual classroom is that students can be brought beyond the 4 walls of our traditional classroom. Virtual classrooms open up a student’s mind to experiential learning. This method focuses the learner’s mind on the experience of doing something, so they gain insight as well as practical experience.
If you are planning to move some or all of your learning curriculum online, it is essential that you will be able to accommodate multiple users in one environment at the same time. This enables team collaboration, group field trips, and workshops.
Virtual Environment Creation
Many people look to use virtual reality to bring them outside the realism of a traditional classroom. Although theoretical learning is often the primary focus, many believe that by experiencing something, students will have a better insight and reflection on the topic at hand. Having the ability to create bespoke virtual learning environments can transport students, giving them that practical learning experience.
Both students and teachers should be able to represent themselves within a virtual classroom. This is important for social interaction within virtual worlds. It also provides a sense of identity, allowing students to feel more immersed in their environment. Customizable avatars can also be beneficial when exploring – whether it be to the past or space. Having various clothing styles to suit planned field trips gives a great sense of immersion.
Some schools may provide hardware with their virtual learning equipment. However, it is always important to research if an application is cross-platform compatible. This allows for changes in hardware but also ensures accessibility for those that will be logging in on their own personal devices.
The ability to give everyone access to audio is vital. This improves the sense of immersion. Another beneficial feature is the ability to tailor the audio experience from within the application, based on the situation. For example, if someone is giving a presentation, it may be beneficial for all other students to be able to mute themselves to ensure there are no disruptions during the presentation and, and then have the ability to unmute to ask questions at the end. Spatial audio is also an added benefit of virtual classrooms. When spatial audio is active, the volume of a person’s voice reduces as you move further away from them. When you get beyond a set distance from the person, you can no longer hear them. This feature makes smaller break-out sessions within one location easy to coordinate.
The teacher must make sure that a group can learn properly in any classroom setting. Platforms that enable one or specific users to have host controls can assist in this. A classroom setting can be made more efficient with the help of network features like summoning all users to a single area within the virtual environment, limiting access to specific features at certain times, and muting one or all users.
Teachers and students need to be able to collaborate within these virtual spaces. Interactive tools such as whiteboards, sticky notes, and other interactive 3D objects facilitate group collaboration and communication.
Platforms that integrate multimedia tools, such as 360 video, web browsing, and video sharing, can enhance the students learning experience within these virtual classrooms.
For efficient and seamless day-to-day administration purposes, virtual classroom platforms that enable teachers to control groups, classroom content, and user accounts are essential.
Virtual classroom technology embraces the concept of remote learning. Teachers and students are never physically present in classrooms, but virtually represented through their avatars within a dedicated virtual environment.
Virtual classrooms technology removes geographical boundaries. Teachers and students can be located anywhere and have the ability to share a virtual classroom with someone on the other side of the world.
Some virtual classrooms have the ability for lessons to be created and recorded. Students can then play back these immersive lesson experiences at any time.
Virtual Field Trips
With access to virtual classroom technology, students are no longer confined to a traditional classroom set-up. Students can take virtual field trips to the past, underwater, or to the Moon, with only imagination as the limitation.
The cost of virtual classroom solutions can depend on various factors, including platform subscription, scalability, number of users, whether bespoke virtual environments required for a specific curriculum, and hardware requirements. However, virtual classroom solutions do not need to provide designated buildings, furniture, utilities, or maintenance that a traditional school would need to provide on an ongoing basis.
Primary and secondary schools can use virtual learning intermittently to allow students a greater understanding of complex concepts, for virtual field trips, or for free online courses.
Higher Education Institutes, such as colleges and universities, can use virtual learning solutions for a variety of purposes. Some universities have created digital twins of their campuses, providing remote students a place to mingle and socialize with others. Some other universities have implemented virtual learning for practical use, such as medical training or practice in a courtroom setting.
Virtual classrooms can be used for professional training and development also, such as workshops and training sessions. This is particularly beneficial when you have a geographically dispersed workforce.