Immersion technologies are gaining importance in bilingual education, by proposing realistic environments where it is possible to practice until you gain a degree of confidence and comfort to function in real life.
The education of a foreign language has always been a challenge, and much more when it comes to creating a conducive and realistic environment to promote the teaching and learning of English. But educational technology, which is a subset of all existing technologies, has provided educators with resources and tools to help ensure learning goals are met.
With the help of virtual reality (VR), which is a sort of instructional technology, students can experience augmented surroundings inside the classroom without leaving.
Educational technology plays an important role for both teachers and students. For starters, it allows teachers to address hybrid learning scenarios, bringing students together regardless of their geographic location, thus catering to inclusion. For students, the software used can provide access to content, greater flexibility, and numerous tools to make the learning process more efficient, thus increasing autonomy and giving them responsibility for their own process.
For teachers, technology provides meaning and organization, especially when it comes to multitasking. It provides a variety of teaching resources, access to digital platforms, and the exchange of content on platforms for hybrid and face-to-face meetings. From video conferencing apps to online classrooms, gaming platforms, and interactive assessments that deliver metrics for individualized learning and whole-class experiences.
Educational technology used in the teaching of foreign languages can be categorized based on the various goals it is intended to achieve, as seen in the examples below.
– Presentation of information by the teacher / Software of exercises and practices. Instructional Videos
– Student exploration / Electronic encyclopedias, simulations, and hypermedia presentations that students can control
– Creativity and production / Word processors, video recorders.
– Communication / Email, discussion forums, social networks, smartphones
There are other ways technologies could be described and categorized, but the main takeaway is that they change based on use and characterization. It should be noted that technology itself cannot achieve anything on its own, so it is essential to recognize what people can do with it and what it does for people.
It is not surprising that students are continuously involved when educational technology is incorporated into the learning process. It increases their motivation, enthusiasm, and overall performance, which, in turn, motivates teachers to use and incorporate educational technology into their practice.
Using immersive technologies in the classroom and its effects
According to Strivr, immersive learning is a technique of experiential training that simulates real-world situations using virtual reality (VR) to train staff in a secure and interesting immersive environment. Decades of neuroscience research have shown that the brain treats virtual reality experiences as it would in real life. Therefore, if virtual reality were applied in the classroom, students would have the opportunity to explore and use the foreign language by showing how they would perform in a real environment.
Virtual reality itself builds confidence, strengthens language use, reduces affective filters, and brings students one step closer to achieving their goals. Let’s take a student as an example: he or she is studying Medicine and needs to practice interacting with patients to obtain their medical history and complete a diagnosis. Virtual reality allows you to put medical training into practice while communicating in a foreign language and practicing as much as necessary until you feel comfortable, increasing real-world performance once that time arrives. This is an example of how virtual reality and augmented reality can be effective in the classroom and on the territory.
New Ways to Learn
Virtual reality has shown that students when using the device, get involved from a different perspective. Some of the students who interacted with the VR headset gave testimonials about how they acquired and learned new knowledge while moving away from traditional seminars and classes:
“It was a very enriching activity. First of all, because the software had very interesting content about my profession and the topics we are studying in class. As for the VR glasses, I think it is a good tool to learn, it is a different tool”. (Medical student)
“I think it was a very good activity. Usually, we only focus on memorizing the parts (of the body) shown in the book or even in the amphitheaters, but having the possibility to see the parts in 3D, to understand them closer to reality is an experience. very good”. (Medical student)
“The activity was very good, firstly because it resolved many questions we had about psychobiology, action potential, and synapses. In addition, VR shows the advancement of technology and how it can help us understand the topics of traditional classes, in a totally different way.” (Psychology student)
– “The VR tool shows many different ways of teaching outside of classroom routines. It’s a little more didactic, it’s not just looking at images in books.” (Psychology student)
Achieve Learning Objectives
The beauty of virtual reality is that it allows students to experience life and learning (virtual field trips, simulations, going through immigration) without leaving their classrooms. It helps the student to understand the world outside of his current environment. Since the sky is the limit, teachers can achieve learning objectives by thinking outside the box. Virtual reality allows them to take language learning further: now it’s about knowing how far they want their students to go.
The Triple-E Framework: Enhance, Engage, extend was designed by Kolb to help teachers select educational technology that would assist them in meeting learning objectives and generate experiences that positively impact students, thus increasing their performance. When the three E approach is applied to virtual reality, it helps keep teachers on track. Because, although the virtual reality is entertaining, its purpose is to help students achieve their goals.
In general, VR and immersion technologies are becoming more important in bilingual education., helping students reach their full potential. When used in learning environments, virtual reality paves the way for the successful use and efficient communication in a foreign or second language. It helps students to overcome their fears related to communication outside of the classroom context while providing them with a variety of realistic scenarios, content, and environments that, until a moment ago, were only a dream. Now, students can take virtual field trips, go through airport customs or practice interacting with a patient, as well as get a 3D version of the human anatomy. All these learning experiences are possible through virtual reality while communicating in English.