How Schools And Tourism Can Benefit From Virtual Reality
If you’ve ever studied history, or even taught it, there is no doubt that you’ve dreamed about watching historical events unfold right before your eyes. It’s one thing to read about it but to be able to live it could be a revolutionary advancement for both teaching and tourism. In fact, more people might start using VR services to travel to iconic moments in history.
The Wall Street Journal reports that companies and tourism websites are looking to harness the potential of virtual and augmented reality technology as “a way of immersing travellers in history when they visit notable locations”.
Andrew Feinberg, chief operating officer and co-founder of TimeLooper commented: “There’s an element missing from traditional exhibition design. It was practically impossible to put these people in these moments. We wanted to know what it was like to stand on top of the Great Wall and keep the Mongols from taking Beijing”
Now imagine being able to watch the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the Russian Revolution, Margaret Thatcher’s appointment as the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom or even England’s triumph in the 1966 FIFA World Cup? Each one of these events has immense value to either educational teaching or a truly unique tourism opportunity.
Of course it is important to question how these types of services, when they become increasingly popular, maintain historical accuracy? This question is not being overlooked at all, with it being placed at the forefront of the discussion. TimeLooper, for example, says that it has collaborated with local museums and historians to make “depictions as authentic as possible”.
Most people visiting another country will want to learn more about different cultures and events in history. They might even take the opportunity to visit a museum and find out something they might not have known about. Companies that are using this technology won’t take all the business away from museums. In fact, the latter should no doubt be taking more notice of VR’s capabilities.
Museums could look towards a long-term investment in the technology to elevate people’s experiences, providing a fantastic way to create an engaging, immersive part of a tour that they might offer to the public. While there is no doubt that the tech could be expensive, museums would easily become more appealing to schools.
According to the Herald, parents have raised concerns about the expense of sending their children on school trips that cost up to £4,700 for countries like China, Peru and Borneo.
Professor Lindsay Paterson, who teaches at the University of Edinburgh, commented: “Enabling children to experience leadership is a good thing but what you might doubt is whether you need to go to the other side of the world to achieve it.”
The focus on expenses does return to the division between working and middle-class students that are able to afford these kinds of trips. However, VR is offering an alternative that combines both teaching and tourism into one package.