Based on my previous post, it is no secret that I'm an advocate for the use of virtual realities, personally and in educational settings. However, there are many that tend to disagree with me. So, to play devil's advocate, I decided to take some time to investigate the opposing side. As a way to organize my thoughts, I created a graphic organizer to show the potential positive and negative aspects of virtual realities. Below is the link that shows my graphic organizer:
Pros and Cons to Virtual Realities
If I were to look strictly at the opposite to my personal view, it is easy to comprehend why others do not want to promote the use of virtual realities. Even though some educators use them in classrooms, the majority of virtual environment exist in computer and video games. Sites such as World of Warcraft, Second Life and Teen Second Life allow you adults and teenagers to create avatars. These avatars can be anything and do anything. When young adults start to design and create a life they want virtually, it may be difficult for these people to become successful in the real world. The lines between virtual worlds and real world can become blurred. In fact, many adult can't function in the real world because of his or her addiction to virtual realities. There are documented cases of people dropping out college, getting fired from jobs, and/or unable to keep a stable long-term relationship because of addictions to virtual realities. By using virtual environments in classrooms may cause the initial spark to that addiction.
Other examples of virtual environments exist in video games. Video games are in extreme high demand and there are multiple systems and networks to choose. Recently video game systems have been changing a few things by creating games that require physical activity and provide opportunities for family bonding. However, many of the popular video games are those that promote violence. This type of negative entertainment has been studied and proven to increase aggressive behaviors in game users. The debate about video games being to blame for school shootings continues to a sensitive subject for many; however, we can conclude that these type of virtual environments may cause some negative impacts. So, once again, it makes sense why educators do not want to promote virtual realities by using them in classroom.
Based on this new found research, I can understand why so many educators are against the use of virtual realities. However, I happen to know a few teachers that use virtual environments and don't realize that is what they are using! When it comes to defining virtual realities, there are a multitude of definitions. I described the one that I agree with the most in my previous blog, but others may see them a little differently. Even though I played devil's advocate and examined the opposing side to my view, I'm still an advocate for the use of virtual environments in education. The key is to teach students how to balance. Create motivation and active engagement among students by using virtual realities but also continue lessons that contain traditional classroom settings and real world experiences.
Resources: Bickford, R. (2010). Youth access to violent video games on trial: The supreme court takes the case. (Communique ed., Vol. 39, pp. 11-13).
Ethical Issues in Clinical Neuropsychology.Eds: Bush, S.S., & Drexler, M.L., Lisse, NL: Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers, 243 - 280 (2003). Retrieved from www.virtuallybetter.com/af/documents/VR_Ethics_Chapter.pdf
Kommers, P. (1997). Virtual reality for education. Retrieved from projects.edte.utwente.nl/proo/kommers.htm#_Toc411671119
Pantelidis, V. (2000). Reasons to use virtual reality in education. VR in Schools, 1(1), 9. Retrieved from vr.coe.ecu.edu/reas.html
Tan, G. (2009, August 03). Virtual reality games an addiction for local gamers. The Brunei Times. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bt.com.bn/home_news/2009/08/03/virtual_reality_games_an_addiction_for_local_gamers