The worlds that only exist in computers and

The term Virtual Reality (VR) is commonly used by the popular media to describe imaginary worlds that only exist in computers and our minds.  Before 2015, virtual reality was  not defined in the dictionary.  The Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defined the word virtual as “being in essence or effect, but not in fact” and reality as “the state or quality of being real.  Based on these definitions, Virtual reality is something that both constitutes a real or actual thing as distinguished and something that is merely apparent.  Thus, Virtual Reality is a term that contradicts itself-an oxymoron if you must.  Fortunately, there has been an updated version of the full term “Virtual Reality.” In 2015, Merriam-Webster defined the term as “an artificial environment and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.  In other words, virtual Reality is a computer-generated digital environment that can be experienced and interacted with as if the environment were real. The definitions do not do Virtual Reality justice because experiencing VR is an entirely different story.  1 An ideal VR system enables users to physically walk around objects and touch those objects as if they were real. 2 “The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter.  A chair displayed in a room would be good enough to sit in.  Handcuffs displayed in a room would be confining, a bullet displayed in such a room would be fatal.  With appropriate programming, such a display could literally be Wonderland into which Alice walked.”  A significant part of experiencing VR is communication with inanimate objects. This differs from the normal definition of reality because communication is typically thought of as an interaction between two or more people.  From a more abstract perspective, communication is the transfer of energy between two entities, even if just the cause and effect of one object colliding with another object.  3  VR design is concerned with the communication of how the virtual world works, how that world and its objects are controlled, and the relationship between user and content: ideally where users are focused on the experience rather than the technology.  When a virtual reality universe is designed well, it can feel like the user is really interacting and communicating with virtual objects. Two different types of communication can explain how this happens. Direct Communication is the direct transfer of energy between two entities with no intermediary and no interpretation attached.  4  Structural Communication, on the other hand, is the physics of the world, not the description or the mathematical representation but the thing-in-itself. 5  Think about it like this: one is always in relationship to the objects around it when in VR, and that relationship is what helps define our state.  Through our natural senses, we are able to, as humans, feel the structure of the world by using the shape of our hands around a controller. The world feels completely real even though it isn’t. Part 2 When people think of Virtual Reality, they think of playing games; however, in practical use, educational experiences seen through Virtual Reality can be highly effective and possibly more beneficial to society.  FIrst off, the most important reason that VR can enhance education, teachers will finally be able to keep track and make adjustments for each individual student.  It will instantly become apparent what teaching works and what does not work because the results will be shown by the students.  Your research will be more accurate because VR makes learning through playing and exploration possible when it would have perceived as boring, doing it in a class, thus making the class “fun” giving students all the more motivation to do their work. This as opposed to before when it was not often you found students that enjoyed doing their work, making it confusing what works and what does not because students were putting in the effort at all.  For example, in traditional chemistry classes, students must follow instructions very carefully since mixing chemicals together can be a safety hazard.  However, in a VR chemistry lab, students can mix any compounds they want and see what will happens without any fear of injury.  Better yet, doing chemistry can be turned into an interactive game where the students guess what will happen when they mix different compounds together.  Students can create their own compounds based on given properties.  6  Ultimately, students will either end up subscribing to a certain VR curriculum or purchase content for specific lessons .  When this happens, school will essentially be a VR game where students will work collaboratively to solve problems and learn.  Until computer and head-mount device costs come down and VR becomes more popular in the entertainment industry, classroom use of VR will remain relatively small.  VR Edutainment – Single games that teach individual subjects will be the common implementation at first.  A history game might take you to the Civil War battlefields, or an astronomy game might take you for a walk on Mars.  Whether it be a physical classroom or not, children will be able to connect to virtual classrooms online, making learning more fun and evidently, more effective.  


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