State schools

AR/VR emerges as an important topic in public schools

The public schools of Tamil NaduAndhra Pradesh and Nagaland are now starting to provide Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) infrastructure to students, the CBSE The council is still in the process of raising awareness and introducing the AR/VR module for grades VI-VIII in its affiliated schools.

The Chennai government recently launched the first Meta Kalvi installation, the VR Lab, in five schools in the Chepauk-Triplicane constituency. The schools are Chennai High School in Chintadripet, Government Madrasa I Azam Higher Secondary School in Anna Salai, Chennai Middle School on Triplicane High Road, Lady Willingdon Higher Secondary School and Government Model Higher Secondary School in Triplicane. More than a thousand students in the city – who study in grades VI to VIII in three corporate schools and two public schools – will learn complex subjects such as the formation of water, atomic structure and algebra at using visual aids. Veative Labs is reportedly delivering VR headsets to schools in Kohima, Nagaland. In Kerala, the TutAR app allows teachers to help students with complex STEM topics through 3D models.

“CBSE provides the module to the students to make them aware of emerging technologies. Each state, in its wisdom, can launch technology-based courses and adopt new technologies when it chooses. There can be no debate about who is the first to implement the latest technology, but there should be a discussion regarding its implementation in the field,” says Biswajit. Saha, Director, Vocational Education and Training, CBSE. He adds that schools are free to offer the course, but it is due to a lack of equity that not all schools can offer a new course module at the same time. CBSE will gradually equip Kendriya Vidyalayas and Eklavya schools with next-generation technological infrastructure. The board also develops MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) courses to facilitate student self-study.

To facilitate the implementation of AR/VR, the CBSE published a circular on July 4, 2022 to introduce a skills module for students in classes VI-VIII on “augmented reality and virtual reality”. According to the circular, the module will include a two-tier curriculum that is largely experiential and activity-based learning where students will learn immersive technologies and case studies, and experience augmented reality and virtual reality through hands-on activities. The course will also allow students to take their first steps towards building and setting up extended reality models.

Challenges in Implementing AR/VR Technology

VR/AR provides a meaningful immersive learning opportunity in which students can visualize and learn. However, providing the infrastructure for AR/VR in schools is the biggest challenge in implementing plans related to AR/VR technology, Saha says.

“Even a Class VI student can visualize how an engine is put together or how the heart and brain work. This helps eliminate rote learning. But there are many obstacles to the implementation of AR/VR modules. These include the lack of teacher development and training, poor instructional design, the high cost of VR technology, and the need to purchase expensive equipment like VR headsets due to the limited funding available to many schools. The few educational experiences revealed the lack of conceptual support, scarcity of educational research, and lack of institutional support for the effective use of virtual reality and augmented reality in public schools,” says Lehar Tawde, co- founder, Connected technologies.

With NEP 2020 placing a heavy emphasis on immersive learning, a few states have already started implementing AR/VR infrastructure and content in their schools at a pilot level and have seen great success. “Teachers have responded well and integrated the systems as part of their teaching process, and student interest has increased in concepts traditionally considered difficult,” says Lavin. Mirchandani, co-founder of ConnectEd Technologies. Of the eight states targeted for ConnectEd Technologies’ regional vernacular animated content, Maharashtra and Haryana already have extensive plans for augmented reality/virtual reality in their schools. Mirchandani said, “We expect more public schools in these states to use these technologies as part of their teaching process over the next three years.”

State-of-the-art 3D systems will enable a deeper understanding of the subject and allow students to explore topics in 3D, helping them to understand more clearly and effectively. “Interacting with 3D objects helps students remember better and enables faster recall. Additionally, research shows that learning in 3D leads to up to 2x faster learning,” says Vijay Albuquerque, CEO of Saras Inc, which provides stereoscopic classroom solutions for mass deployment in classrooms. classroom, laboratories and auditoriums.

AR/VR is the newest topic of the 21st century technological age, also essential to keep pace with the ever-changing world around us, but there are also challenges to fully implement it in schools. The main challenges are that, first, these technologies are too expensive and require a huge budget from the school. Also, not all teachers are tech-savvy and need proper training for the same. As the concepts are quite new, there is also a lack of quality content. As these subjects involve the virtual world too much, it can cause students to become disconnected from the real world, leading to behavioral and social issues later on. AR/VR are good concepts but require proper infrastructure for large-scale implementation, says Souman GuptaHeadmaster, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, No 1, C-block Janakpuri.