May 20, 2019

Reality Check (3)

Is VR truly popular in classrooms these days? [Pivotal] Unfortunately, I am seeing too few yeses and too many noes in the conversation. In the recent months, here is even more insightful data I have been wrestling with:

No More? Has Google conquered the education world, claiming more than 2 million Google Expedition users worldwide? [Enables exploration] Sounds like real penetration of the ed market, doesn’t it? Not really. First, their actual penetration rate is miniscule. UNICEF estimated there are 650 million children of primary age in the world, and nearly double that if you include secondary students. Based on these assumptions, Google has only reached 0.003 (less than a third of 1 percent) of elementary students worldwide, and only 0.0015 of all students, both primary and secondary. Second, “having used” (just once or a few times) is much different in schools than “are using” (daily, weekly, monthly, frequently). Sounds like hype, doesn’t it? You bet.
Only a Bit More. Google conquers the U.K. is what some people say, with over a half million students having used their singular Google Expeditions platform. [Builds understanding] But if you assume in excess of 10 million students in the U.K. at minimum, that converts into a 0.05 penetration rate. (And, of course, we must still own the “having used” versus “are using” verbiage.) Translated, more than 95% of UK students have not used Google Expeditions. Oh well.
Remember, in order to keep our blog readers from falling off the feared precipice of despair, I have deliberately embedded words of hope throughout this series, as seen in the top paragraph, in [bracketed italics]. These are expressions that literally shout the promise and potential of virtual reality, while counterbalancing the bad news.  These words are not just taken magically from the air, but consist of actual text snatched from the VR-related exhibit hall booths and sales literature at a recent ed-tech conference, ‘designer’ phraseology that help sell VR to tech-hungry educators. 

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