The promise of virtual reality in higher education

Posted on April 13th, 2016

Georgia State University Library Administrator Bryan Sinclair and Art History Instructor Glenn Gunhouse discuss the ways that Virtual Reality (VR) may transform higher education. VR, which Gunhouse defines as “virtual spaces that you can feel inside of, and can interact with, that you…can move around freely, looking wherever you please,” has been explored and tested since the 1960s, but didn’t hit the mainstream until last year. VR can enable students to visit places that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, either because the places are too far or no longer exist. However, VR presents many technical, financial, and accessibility obstacles—for example, higher end VR products can be very costly and many classrooms lack the necessary hardware to support VR. Sinclair and Gunhouse argue that if these obstacles can be overcome, VR has the capacity for community building, interactive learning and can “connect us with the world and each other in ways never before realized.”