After researching the opposing view, my thoughts have not changed.  I still see benefits to using virtual reality in the classroom.  I do agree however, that cost is the major barrier in having successful virtual reality options in the classrooms.  Virtual worlds offer some advantages but not more.  I love the idea of students being able to use their technology skills and apply them in the classroom as an extension or additional support.  I feel classroom must keep some traditional aspects in them because students still need some direct instruction and feedback from a teacher.  Virtual worlds are not better than real world experiences.  Anytime a student can experience something first hand is always better.  If I had the choice of simulating a roller coaster ride or actually riding a roller coaster, actually riding the coaster would have greater impact.  Similarly, with students, if they had the choice to simulate a rocket launch or building a rocket and launching it, building and launching would be better.  I have seen teachers use both successfully in the classroom and provide great experiences.  A middle school enrichment class at my school, looked at bridges and how much weight they can hold before breaking on computer for a couple weeks.  They then built their own wood bridges from glue and popsicle sticks and tested out how much weight each could hold before breaking.  Students were engaged and were still talking about the experience at the end of the school year.  The key to getting students to see virtual worlds as learning experiences is to make it very clear of the objective before you start.  If students see it as “playing a game” they will treat it as such.  Students should have an accountability piece to turn in or explain so that the teachers can see if the goals/objectives were met successfully.

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