Recently, Google and Danish technology company Labster announced: biology students will no longer need to enter the laboratory, throughVirtual realitySimulation experiment, will provide the world's first online only pave the way for a degree in biology.
This collaboration marks a VR has already begun to change the way to teach scientific knowledge, but still some of virtual reality technology can completely replace the actual hands-on laboratory experience remain sceptical.
This program is held in Google recently published during the period of I/O developer conference, Jennifer Holland is the company's project manager, she said, through the use of VR lab, university "will be able to provide real completely online degree in biology".
While online biology course is very common, but many of them need to be working in the laboratory in person and she said, which means higher fees, or for remote education students commute farther."It also some not bargain for them," she added.VR laboratory, let students have unlimited lab time, this in the real basic is impossible in the lab.
In the planned 30 VR laboratory course, includes the confocal microscope can be used for training, gene therapy and cell genetics.
According to Google's statement, in the autumn, Arizona state university will be first used in VR laboratory in university, and will set up the complete online offer a degree in biology.
An Arizona state university, said a spokesman for the Danish Labster company and schools have cooperation, to ensure the completely online degree can reach the same as the school curriculum standards.
"The VR course, and the future will increase additional VR curriculum goal is that by using virtual reality simulator, give the students the knowledge and skills they need, and let them to apply my knowledge in the real world," she said."VR lab can also make those because of geographical restrictions and unable to attend the course the students involved, at the same time can also make the students get unlimited lab time, it is basically impossible in reality."
The biology of the Open University assistant lecturer Richard Campen previously studied online learning, he said, "this virtual substitute for the real world seems to be a poor quality of experience, perhaps when the students work in the real world, can't have good substitution effect".
But it's true that the Open University network using the virtual microscope and live experiments, as a part of the biology curriculum, he explains.
"For me, what really matters is that VR laboratory must do what you can do real," he said."After all, this is used to demonstrate the scientific method."
According to the Google developers conference during the speech, VR lab will by using advanced simulator and mathematical equations to simulate the effect of the "real world".These experiments will by some model, Dr Campen said."People through the model to learn how to fly a plane, known as the simulator," he said."I don't think this have what not satisfactory, it has its place."
But in the virtual laboratory experiments of the students may not be able to meet the real possibilities in laboratory and confounding factors, he added.
If a student only used the virtual laboratory, "you would employ such a student as your staff?"Dr Campen asked.
But a spokesman from the Labster argues that this technology will give only through online learning of the students, and students are a significant benefit.
"A lot of laboratory USES mathematical models to simulate real world events to create.Also can be used depending on the complexity of the model of database creation of animation into the experiment, and even view the experiment of reaction and process at the molecular level."
"These combined with really immersed environment and interaction, at the same time can also let the students to control the whole experience, can let the students entered the lab and the use of equipment have more confidence, at the same time also can let them to have a better understanding of the concept, and to apply these knowledge better."
Of course, this requires the students have their own VR head.Labster staff said the experiment course can in VR, including Google Daydream View show running on the head, and the head also need a new smart phone.
Translator's note: the current domestic also have a large number of startups in the development of VR laboratory, such as the biology of the Open University assistant lecturer Richard Campen puts it, in the VR for learning and training of the students still need to really get started, to master necessary skills, and learn to face all kinds of complicated conditions in the real experiment.VR as a new teaching method, can try to use.But such as Arizona state university to set up a "pure online" aggressively degree in biology, may also need to look before you leap.
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