Introduction to Virtual Reality in Education

Chris Dede


As an emerging technology for learning, virtual reality (VR) dates back four decades, to earlywork by Ivan Sutherland in the late 1960s. At long last, interactive media are emerging thatoffer the promise of VR in everyday settings. Quasi-VR already is commonplace in 2-1/2-Dvirtual environments like Second Life and in massively multiplayer online role-playing games(e.g., World of Warcraft). Realizing the potential of VR for education, however, is much morecomplex than simply making its interface practical and affordable. Learning applications arenot like fire, a wonderful technology that provides a benefit from merely standing in its vicinity.In education, technologies achieve their power indirectly, as catalysts for deeper content,more engaging activities, more active forms of learning and instruction, and richer types ofassessment.

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