This impact to education has not escaped the notice of countries across the globe and their governments are taking initiatives to encourage advancements and usage of virtual reality in classrooms. Let's take a closer look at what steps are being taken by ministries all around the world to strengthen the presence of VR in the education space.
China is the leading country in installing VR in the classroom across the nation. Through municipal and national governments, it is investing heavily in the virtual reality sector. On a national level, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), in collaboration with about 170 private companies and research institutions established the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA) to grow the ecosystem and enhance advancements. The alliance includes private companies and academic institutions such as the Beijing Institute of Technology as well as non-Chinese partners. Despite the national level, there is also activity on a local level, for instance, a new China VR Research Institute is being developed to boost the VR ecosystem in the city. Every initiative will dedicate money and resources to researching, developing, and building partnerships to advance training and education using VR.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education announced the challenge called EdSim Challenge. It was aimed on the developers and the education technology community to come up with new ideas that will benefit next-generation learning through the use of virtual reality. The Challenge encouraged applicants to look for simulations that would strengthen academic, technical, and employability skills students have. This allowance and encouragement from the American government shows that the country is happy to get involved in using new technologies and to try out new methods of learning and teaching. It is also worth mentioning, that universities in the USA are getting students to learn through VR games in order to boost employability and deepen existing knowledge on business skills.
The UAE are also keen to use VR in education. The Ministry of Education of the UAE came up with a pilot project aiming to teach students through virtual reality. With 17 science-stream public schools chosen to incorporate VR headsets to immerse students in situations that would be too difficult and dangerous to experience in real life. It included the explorations of the underwater world, a tour of the International Space Station as well as walking through a historical site with the help of VR headset. The Ministry hopes to increase the use of VR, along with its benefits of larger engagement, eagerness to learn, and development of empathy, across all schools.
VR made its way to Europe as well, with France, also expressing their support of virtual reality technologies in the classrooms. The revision of the national curriculum resulted in a desire of the government to incorporate virtual reality into the courses, in particular, technology courses, mostly in middle schools. The aim is to make students feel more comfortable in designing things, communicating ideas during every stage of the creative process. Even though, virtual reality in schools is only becoming a popular practice, France is being one of the first to risk in Europe.
The list of countries presented above shows how governments all around the globe are not afraid, or even better – are eager to implement virtual reality into educational sector. More and more countries are getting familiar with this evolutional technology and are coming up with the new solutions of how to make it even more beneficial. With the enormous potential of VR, we should expect it to appear in a number of educational institutions in different parts of the world as early as in a few years, so let's follow the progress!