Virtual reality can improve education by providing students with memorable and immersive experiences that would otherwise not be possible. In the case of Healthy Seas, it allows you to dive to the bottom of the ocean to collect a ghost net. Ghost Nets are fishing nets that have been abandoned, lost, or discarded at sea. They are a problem because they float in the ocean’s currents entangling and killing marine life, damaging reefs and they add tonnes of plastic to the ocean.
The Healthy Seas VR Experience allows you to follow the Ghost Diving volunteers on a mission to remove a ghost net from a WWII submarine, sunken in the Ionian Sea, in Greece. It was developed with Morild Interactive and A.W.S.O.M.E. Technologies as a part of a larger education program run by Healthy Seas. The organization also organizes beach and ocean cleanups and collaborates with fishermen, fish farms, and local communities to prevent waste nets from ending up in the sea.
Healthy Seas VR Experience Concept
Underwater experiences translate well to Virtual Reality not only can you get an idea of what it’s like to be underwater, but you also get a spatial understanding of how a ghost net is removed from a wreck. You also get to feel like if you really were collecting the ghost nets with the volunteer divers. There is also an interactive area where you learn about the circular economy created around the retrieval of ghost nets which are made of Nylon 6.
Education is the basis for a thriving society, and the transfer of knowledge has been a top priority for civilizations since the very beginning. People are constantly looking for ways to make knowledge transfer more easily, more quickly, and more effectively.
Historically, most technologies designed to aid learning have been aimed at enabling access to information — facts and observations about the world. Before computers, we had a powerful tool that helped us retain facts: books.
In the era of digital technologies, books are being turned into eBooks. Modern search engines make fact-finding really easy — with just a few clicks you can discover answers to many questions.
“Googling” for answers has two big problems, it’s based on the old format, which is fact retention and though information is available have people really understood it? Too much information received in a short period of time can easily overwhelm students and people. As a result, they become bored, disengaged, and usually not sure why they are learning about a topic in the first place.
Why VR makes sense in education
Virtual reality can be used to enhance student learning and engagement. VR education can transform the way educational content is delivered; it works on the premise of creating a virtual world — real or imagined — and allows users not only see it but also interact with it. Being immersed in what you’re learning motivates you to fully understand it. It’ll require less cognitive load to process the information.
Better sense of place
Healthy Seas is connecting with children, parents, and hopefully, society at large to give a better sense of a place that not everyone can visit. Even experienced scuba divers wouldn’t be able to join some dives, like the maiden voyage of Mako which took place in the Nord Sea. Fast-changing currents, tight diving windows, and zero visibility means that only divers with experience in this region could take part. The VR experience allows everyone to connect with the challenges of removing ghost nets from our oceans.
Visceral reactions to what we are experiencing are fundamental to forming memories. VR in education makes it easy to engage students the whole time, making experiences memorable.
A lot of people are visual learners — VR is really helpful for this group of learners. Instead of reading about things, students actually see the things they’re learning about. Being able to visualize complex functions or mechanisms makes them easier to comprehend.
Healthy Seas isn’t breaking new ground, but building on an existing educational trend. Google Expeditions taking more than 1 million students in 11 countries on expeditions before it was rolled into Google’s Arts & Cultrue App, which doesn’t only focus on VR but provides a wider more accessible range of platforms to access content.
We are just scratching the surface of what is possible when you use Virtual Reality as a learning tool, Healthy Seas is enriching their multifaceted education program by bringing our oceans to life.