What Role Does Networking Play in Bringing Virtual Reality to Schools?

Districts tend not to upgrade their networks just for VR, but for those who are upgrading. The need to support future virtual experiences may be the deciding factor in capacity.

In fields already using VR apps, IT leaders say they can expect bandwidth demand to become constrained. Since virtual technology is widely used in schools.

In Michigan’s Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, “70 to 80 percent of the VR apps we use don’t require internet access,” says instructional technology consultant Andy Mann. “But there are apps that allow students to collaborate with other students. and may have some impact depending on how many students use those apps simultaneously.”

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In fact, Muskegon Area ISD felt the impact in a school where multiple students were using VR simultaneously. So it built a dedicated network to handle VR needs, Mann said.

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K–12 students use VR to expand a wide range of skills.

For all that VR has to offer, advocates of immersive education say getting the right bandwidth is worth it. Brito says it’s “a more visceral approach to learning.” “You can engage your students in that way of learning. Seeing, hearing is just an evolutionary study of what the future will look like.”

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According to a study by SAP and JFFLabs, which launched a skills lab with VR headsets and virtual learning modules in 2021, 88 percent of students felt engaged during VR lessons.

This is why Muskegon Area ISD uses the Meta Quest headset and Prisms VR app to bring experiential learning to math concepts. By presenting mathematics in a immersive 3D environment, Prisms “helps children understand core concepts of algebra and geometry in a way they couldn’t with pencil and paper,” Mann said.

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Oklahoma CareerTech leverages the power of VR across the state to help students prepare for future careers.

STEM coordinator Tonja Norwood says the program’s Select Aerospace curriculum saves money with VR. They can use virtual reality without having to spend a lot of money on equipment,” she said.

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