Samsung is bringing virtual reality into the classroom with a newly announced VR Eduthon, a program which Samsung has created with a goal of improving the educational environment for students in the classroom. The program comes from Samsung Electronics Germany who partnered up with a Berlin-based schoolbook publisher named Cornelsen. The two companies worked together with each other as well as with experts in various fields, including teachers, VR developers, and people who specialize in utilizing VR technology as a method for teaching. The VR Eduthon was also focused strictly on Biology, and was limited to students in grades seven, eight, and nine.
While this isn’t the first time that VR has been used for educational purposes, as displayed by Google’s efforts with the Expeditions VR program, VR is primarily associated with entertainment such as Verizon’s recently announced Rogue One Star Wars content that can be used with Gear VR. This makes it all the more exciting for students and teachers that Samsung has worked with others to bring this sort of experience to the forefront. The program is said to include “practical and interesting lectures,” and may turn into something beyond this program depending on how things go, as Samsung states that Cornelsen will be looking at how the VR Eduthon worked during its time while also assessing how suitable and sustainable it would be in a classroom environment.
To start, students who attended the VR Eduthon were first introduced briefly to the program before being given a Samsung tablet and a Gear VR headset to experience the different lessons that were part of the learning experience. The scenario also involved two people to each tablet/VR headset combo, with one person wearing the Gear VR headset while the other held the Samsung tablet to view things on its display. Each person also had one half of the experience, with the Gear VR wearer being presented with words for the human’s different digestive organs as well as with animations that display how they work when eating, and having the ability to look in various directions to view the different words and animations. The person holding the tablet would be able to see a more detailed description of the human digestive system as a whole. Collectively, the two people would then take what they saw and learned from the experience and use that knowledge to take a quiz. This sort of educational experience may be the first of its kind for both Samsung and Cornelsen, but considering the amount of excitement from both camps, with Cornelsen’s CEO Mark van Mierle having stated that he “was very satisfied and pleased to work with Samsung Electronics,” there is a possibility that the two could expand the program and perhaps bring it to more students, while also focusing on different learning subjects.