This refers to the use of  virtual reality as a learning aid in the classroom. The idea behind this is that visual exploration via technology such as this will help students to better understand a range of subject.

Students have a range of options with this technology which include explore, manipulate, interpret, select or change in order to acquire knowledge and understanding. Plus it helps with social and communication skills as well.

This can take the form of semi- or fully immersive virtual reality although it is more likely to be a desktop solution, e.g. computer, joystick and keyboard. This set up still enables interaction to take place and within a virtual environment.

 It also does allow students to engage in new forms of learning and experience that they have never previously experienced.

One example is astronomy: students can learn about the planets by viewing these at different angles, zooming in and out and changes in the solar system, for example a solar eclipse.

Another use is special needs. If you have students with special needs then virtual reality can be used to help them with learning skills which many of us take for granted. For example, students with Asperger’s Syndrome can be taught social skills such as turn-taking, sharing, listening and taking an interest in others.

As you can see there are a variety of uses for virtual reality in the classroom. But this technology is viewed as an addition to existing teaching methods and not a replacement.


Virtual reality has been adopted by the military includes all three services (army, navy and air force) – where it is used for training purposes. This is particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations or other dangerous settings where they have to learn how to react in an appropriate manner.

A virtual reality simulation enables them to do so but without the risk of death or a serious injury. They can re-enact a particular scenario, for example engagement with an enemy in an environment in which they experience this but without the real world risks. This has proven to be safer and less costly than traditional training methods.

Virtual reality training is conducted using head mounted displays (HMD) with an inbuilt tracking system and data gloves to enable interaction within the virtual environment.

Another use is combat visualisation in which soldiers and other related personnel are given virtual reality glasses to wear which create a 3D depth of illusion. The results of this can be shared amongst large numbers of personnel.

Find out more about individual uses of virtual reality by the different services, e.g. virtual reality navy training in the separate virtual reality and the military section.

This section discusses the various military applications of virtual reality and the ramifications from using this form of technology. The military may not be an obvious candidate for virtual reality but it has been adopted by all branches – army, navy and air force.

What the military stress is that virtual reality is designed to be used as an additional aid and will not replace real life training.

This section discusses all aspects of how virtual reality is used by military, from training through to combat situations. It is arranged as follows:

The main advantages of this are time and cost: military training is prohibitively expensive especially airborne training so it is more cost-effective to use flight simulators than actual aircraft. Plus it is possible to introduce an element of danger into these scenarios but without causing actual physical harm to the trainees.


In medicine, doctors can get trained by looking at a virtual surgery or they can simulate how the human body is affected by diseases spread by viruses and bacteria and then develop techniques to prevent it.

It enables trainee surgeons to learn new skills as well as practice existing ones on a ‘virtual patient’ which removes the risks of mistakes and helps to build confidence.

The surgeon wears virtual reality glasses  and a data glove and uses these to help them perform a surgical procedure via manipulation in a three dimensional space. This is an ideal setting for them to learn new techniques and to assess the results.

Plus it is useful for surgeons who wish to improve their current skill set or to refresh old skills. All of which is done in a safe and predictable environment.

The idea is that trainee surgeons acquire skills and experience in a virtual setting before applying them to real world patients where the risks are so much higher.

Training can take the form of virtual reality headset and data glove, robotic surgery or simulation software such as ‘HumanSim’

Surgeons are able to ‘feel’ what is happening during surgery by means of force feedback which is a haptic response. Haptics is the study of touch and what this system does is to replicate the action of real surgical instruments, for example a scalpel.

The surgeon is able to feel the virtual scalpel cutting through tissue and muscle in the same way they would in a real life operation. This enables them to make adjustments as and where necessary in order to learn the correct technique. The feedback differs according to what part of the body is being operated on, the instrument and the procedure.


naeyc ( jan2012) looking ahead: technology and interactive media as tools in early childrenhood programs  serving children from birth through age 8 at


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