Virtual Reality is being used to promote learning around the globe. Check out this post to learn more about the use of VR technology to teach literacy in prisons.
Virtual reality still, unfortunately, has the air of a rather gimmicky technology that will struggle to gain mainstream acceptance outside of the gaming community. That’s not for the want of trying, however, with some interesting projects being attempted. One such, by the University of Otago, shows VR being used to help prisoners improve their reading and writing skills.
The researchers, who worked with a prison in New Zealand, wanted to rethink the way literacy was taught to try and prevent people from slipping through the cracks. They developed a prototype Virtual Reality solution that aimed to place the learner into a setting that was both familiar and motivational – a car workshop.
“It was good for us to be able to test the idea that learning to read can also be achieved through Virtual Reality immersion in a specific setting targeted at a particular user group,” the researchers say.“This more interesting and relevant environment can help to learn, and improved literacy skills for prisoners, in this case, improve rehabilitation and integration into the community.”
The team now hopes to build upon this successful prototype and explore how they can improve the interface development. They hope to not only improve the technical aspects but ensure that what is developed meets a real need amongst the community.
“It is expected that there will be significant international interest in virtual reality contextualized learning. I believe this immersion technology has the potential to revolutionize learning,” they explain.
The application developed for prisons requires learners to work on assembling a car in the virtual workshop. The team worked with actual businesses to ensure that the virtual world was as accurate as possible. The team hopes that it will eventually be used in literacy and numeracy programs in prisons across New Zealand.
Check out the video below to learn more about the project.