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Virtual reality is here. Will it last?

Imagine an African safari with wild animals roaming as far as the eye can see. To your right, a wild boar is being silently pursued by a lion hiding in the grass. To your left, a glistening lake full of playful hippos. This is your classroom. This is your future. 

Virtual reality, or VR, headsets may start appearing in classrooms.

The technology is available for most mobile phones and capable computers with headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream View and less-expensive cardboard versions. Even video game consoles are developing their own variations, making VR technology highly accessible. With virtual reality, you have the ability to experience new worlds and places, from the top of the Eiffel Tower to a mental asylum lodging murderous mental patients.

“I’d visit the world of the Last of Us,” said senior Kaylynn Fowler. “It's just so dark and gritty.” 

VR technology has educational benefits because any place on the earth - past or present - can be visited. These are your classrooms and because it's an immersive experience, there are fewer distractions. This offers an alternative to arguably passive teaching methods that can fail to engage students during a lesson.

It’s not all good in the world of VR. According to media reports, using VR devices for a long period of time can cause headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and queasiness. Headset maker Oculus VR's website warns of various side effects ranging from fatigue and impaired balance to severe seizures.

The negative side effects makes senior Jaila Logan hesitant about the new technology. 

“It's fun and all but I just don’t think it’s for everyone,” she said. 

With any new technology the same question arises: Is this technology needed or is it just a gimmick? 

Only time will tell.


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