XRA Survey: Teachers Pin Hopes on XR for Better Classroom Engagement

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Incorporating XR—the umbrella term for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality—in classroom education can make learning more fun. It can also motivate students to take their studies more seriously.  A recent survey by XR Association (XRA) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) presented this conclusion based on a poll of over 1,400 high school teachers across 50 US states. Let’s look at the survey results.

Optimism High for XR’s Classroom Use

Foremost of the highlights in the nationwide poll was the finding that 77% of educators believe in the power of extended reality to ignite curiosity and engagement in class. This is especially important given that student motivation and morale are reported to have dropped in the 2020-2021 school year.

As Sean Wybrant, a computer science teacher at Colorado Spring’s William J. Palmer High School, put it: “Imagine how much better a student will understand what happens in Othello if they could actually step into the play and see it. Imagine how much better we could tell historical narratives if we could put people in recreations of famous situations based on documentation of those time periods.”

Secondly, XR doesn’t only make students eager to learn. Seventy-seven percent of teachers also see its potential in spurring interaction and building empathy among classmates. XRA says in its report that creating immersive worlds allows students to exchange ideas and understand each other in new ways.

Thirdly, 67% of respondents agree with XRA’s advocacy to incorporate extended reality technology into the curricula. Educators teaching the following subjects believe that course-specific XR experiences would be beneficial for students:

  • Earth sciences (94%)
  • Physics and space science (91%)
  • Math (89%)
  • English language (86%)
  • World languages (87%)
  • History and social studies (90%)
  • Social sciences (91%)
  • Computer science (91%)
  • Visual and performing arts (91%)
  • Physical education (88%)
  • Career and technical education (91%)

“To get a good sense of XR’s potential in schools, you have to ask the teachers and staff who will be administering this technology,” said Stephanie Montgomery, the XRA Vice President of Research and Best Practices. “The survey’s results suggest that VR, AR, and MR technology is well-positioned to become an essential teaching tool in school classrooms across the country.”

At the same time, 58% of the survey respondents said that teachers should get training for XR classroom use. Moreover, 62% believe in developing XR standards before integrating the technologies into regular curricula.

XR Association CEO Elizabeth Hyman believes in the extensive ripple effect that will result from making educators XR-ready. “If teachers understand XR technology and are empowered to contribute to the way in which it is incorporated into the curriculum, everyone—students, their guardians, and the surrounding community—will be able to take advantage of its benefits,” she said.

However, despite the positive outlook, 57% of teachers recognize the costs of using AR and VR devices and admit that access to funds will determine access to such technology. Nevertheless, poll participants believe XR’s benefits will extend beyond the classroom. Seventy-seven percent of teachers said the technology helps equip students with skills they can apply in their chosen careers, especially since, according to forecasts, jobs in extended reality may reach 23 million by 2030.

Myths About XR Classroom Use Debunked

The XRA-ISTE survey dispelled several myths about extended reality’s acceptance in education. One of these misconceptions is that XR is only for gaming. The poll results and teachers’ comments reveal that they are aware of the usefulness of this technology in geography, math, history, and other subjects.

Moreover, the survey response from educators refutes the popular notion that XR technology would not be the “best fit” for the classroom. Seventy-eight percent of respondents believe in the benefits of extended reality technologies in class.

Finally, the belief that XR will distract students from learning only got a 15% vote among the survey participants. The majority support the opportunities that come with extended reality when incorporated into lessons.

Teens Excited About XR 

Earlier last year, XRA also conducted a separate survey that sought teens’ views on current use cases for XR and their expectations for this technology. The results released in May 2022 revealed that 40% of teens have used either AR or VR in school and 50% describe their experience with these technologies as positive. Thirty-eight percent would like to own a headset in the future.

Even though there are potential concerns around immersive technologies, which teens are aware of, they are still excited about using XR in education, in a responsible way. Almost 4 in 5 teens think extended reality can impact lives positively. They believe that XR can improve their lives in the areas of fun (67%), creativity (61%), and learning (48%). Moreover, 52% of respondents expressed interest in taking a college course with extended reality integrated into its curriculum.

Read the Latest Addition to the XRA Developers’ Guide

XRA is proactively advancing XR application in classroom learning. It recently launched a new chapter in its Developers Guide on designing immersive lessons for high schoolers. The fresh chapter discusses current classroom needs, successful use cases, and industry-backed best practices for promoting safe and inclusive classroom learning through extended reality that addresses parent, teacher, and student concerns.