Olivia C. Hamilton
Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey
A Realistic Yet Virtual World shows readers the importance of a virtual reality through the eyes of a disabled student. Disabled students are able to use virtual reality to improve their education and learning abilities. By learning through a virtual reality, disabled students are able to learn without the potential humiliation from peers. Also, students are able to learn at their own pace rather than the teachers pace. I partook in My Virtual Child, which is a virtual reality. In the program, I had to raise my child to the best of my ability and watch him grow into a mature adult. Virtual reality showed me through many incidences (expressed in paper) the importance of every decision when it is regarding your child. Also, it taught me how to be a strict, yet not over powering mother. A virtual reality is not only idyllic for the disabled, but for also people like me, who are naïve about a subject and just want to learn hands-on.
An abundant of educators utilizes Virtual Reality as an academic learning tool, such as My Virtual Child. Virtual Reality has its pro’s and con’s. One positive attribute of virtual reality is that it improves the education received by disabled students by giving them an alternate way to learn at their own pace. In Virtual Reality and its role in removing the barriers that turn cognitive impairments into intellectual disability, P.J. Standen and D.J. Brown wrote about the positive outcomes Virtual Reality has on disabled students. “This medium (virtual reality) possessed characteristics that had the potential to transform the way students learnt. More significantly it had the potential to facilitate the learning of those with intellectual disabilities providing a route to the acquisition of knowledge and skills that could reduce the impact of their impairments” (2006, p.241).Virtual Reality was designed with both sides in mind: to make life easier for the teacher and for the student. Students with disabilities are benefited from virtual reality because it gives them the chance to learn more independently by “enabling learners to take charge of their own learning”. (p.241).Disabled students are put at an unfortunate disadvantage of potential embarrassment in front of their peers, which causes them to become self-conscious. Being self-conscious obviously affects the learning environment. “The learner can work at their own pace. They can make as many mistakes as they like without irritating others and the computer will not tire of the learner attempting at the same task over and over again, nor get impatient because they are slow or engrossed in particular details.” (p.242). Virtual Reality makes it easier for disabled students to learn without the stress of bullying on their shoulders. With virtual reality, students do not have to be worried about being bullied due to their physical impairments because they can go wherever they like even if they have a mobility problem. At times, virtual reality can be constructed in a more user-friendly environment than the real world, which makes it more usable for the disabled. Virtual reality allows the pauses that are needed for disabled students that normal schooling do not provide. This will make tutoring a lot easier for students, so pauses can be made easily during the lessons to help the student learn. Shen, Jia, Eder, Lauren B., authors of Intentions to Use Virtual Worlds for Education writes about how virtual stimulation is effective towards learning and teaching. “Stimulation can be used as a tool to give students concrete experience and background for abstract concepts and specific methods in stochastic systems” (2008, p.1). Learning is most constructive when it is trial-and-error learning. Virtual Reality websites offer the opportunity to learn more efficiently by allowing users to change their answers and visualize the differences made