AnaMaria Meshkurti is the Head of Marketing, Communications and Engagement at the FONGIT (Fondation Genevoise pour l’Innovation Technologique), the premier Swiss technology startup innovation platform and incubator. Aiming at achieving positive social and economic impact, FONGIT supports startups in the technology sector who are based in Geneva or want to set up their headquarters in the canton. Previously she worked for the United Nations (UN) in the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Office for Europe, in charge of digital inclusion, skills, gender, youth, accessibility and innovation matters with European governments. Prior to joining ITU she worked for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as in various UK based NGOs. She holds diplomas in Business Administration (MBA), Marketing and Communications (MA) as well as International Relations and Global Governance (Bs). She is currently the Curator for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shapers Geneva Hub, as well as Chapter Leader for the HULT International Business School Alumni Association of Geneva and part of the Global Hult Alumni Executive Board. She is also an angel investor and board member at Swiss Virtual Reality Startup VR4Business.ch. She is a speaker at many international events on topics related to innovation, digital skills, gender, youth, accessibility and standardization. She was awarded the UN ITU Innovation award and recognized as one of the top 100 Swiss Digital Shapers 2022.
Since the COVID-19 crises, we quickly moved towards a more digital type of education, even though this was not by choice. It was clear in many countries that this move was a difficult one, mainly for professors rather than students. Especially when it came to younger generations, who spend large amounts of time in front of screens (phones, laptops etc.) this change was very much welcomed.
We must nevertheless keep in mind that different regions were impacted differently, especially when it came to those with connectivity issues in rural areas but also at times cities. Even though digitalization in terms of owning a mobile phone for many children was a reality, following your studies only on your phone can be challenging. The price of broadband and electricity were two other factors that came into the equation when looking at digital education.
However, it is no secret that education is changing today and even more after the COVID crises. With the advent of new technologies, the way in which we learn and teach is and should be indeed evolving. One of the most exciting and potentially game-changing technologies to emerge in recent years is virtual reality (VR). When looking at VR it has brought many opportunities when it comes to training, recruitment and the education space. We have witnessed several companies deploy VR in their recruitment of new colleagues or in the training of C-level individuals in the firm. Given the positive outcomes of such attempts to use technology to empower individuals further, education is naturally the next step.
VR has a number of advantages when it comes to education. First, it can provide an immersive learning experience. When used correctly, VR can transport students to another time or place, making history come alive or allowing them to explore exotic locations without ever leaving the classroom. This is a very easy way for many to learn history, geography and never forget the key events that have taken place. The company Secondworld.ch has experimented with learning in the classroom through VR and has reported excellent results.
Second, VR can be used to create safe environments for students to experiment and learn without consequences. This is especially valuable for subjects like science and health, where students can gain first-hand experience of things like anatomy or chemical reactions without any risk of harm.
Third, VR is an incredibly engaging way to learn. Gamification is a powerful tool, and VR can make learning feel more like a game than a chore. This is especially beneficial for teenagers, who are often difficult to engage in education.
Finally, VR has the potential to break down barriers to education. It can be used to provide education to those in remote areas or those with physical disabilities that make traditional education inaccessible.
Let’s use VR to ensure that children are immersed in education and learn through fun as well as in a better way. There is no doubt that VR is a powerful tool with great potential for education. The question is not if VR will become mainstream in education, but when. With its ability to provide immersive, engaging and inclusive learning experiences, there is no doubt that VR is the future of education.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think VR will become mainstream in education? When do you think this will happen?