The case study I have related in the previous two posts is a fairly positive one. This school district is definitely on the right track toward addressing the achievement gap problem. But I routinely like to temper these feel-good anecdotes with just a dab of scrutiny. It's part of my job—to be a "critical friend" of otherwise successful efforts at classroom innovation.
Here are some key reservations that worry me about VR in classrooms:
- In order to be effective, VR must be inset within the curriculum and not stand on its own;
- High costs ($7000 for a classroom set,as described in last week's post) is simply and arguably unsustainable in today's classrooms. Neither is it scalable.
- In many case studies, I often notice the presence of more than one eudcators. The presence of so many adult ‘guides’ (3 in the previous case study) in a single classroom also forestalls true scalability and sustainability.
- Safety concerns (that students stay in their seats and not bump into each other), is a real problem;
Closing the achievement gap is a worthy goal for the use of VR in today's classrooms. I encourage a contnued research. However, let's measure and report on the gains of disadvantaged students in relationship to more privileged students, so we know how big a difference we are actually making.