Giving Compass' Take:

· Jan Sikorsky at EdSurge discusses the benefits and potential of virtual reality to provide students with an interactive learning experience and explains how schools can effectively integrate it into the curriculum.

· Although VR is becoming more affordable, it may still be an opportunity for funders to provide support to schools.

· Read more about virtual reality and the education system.

In the past few years, students at Washington's Leadership Academy have practiced their French while walking the streets of Paris, run for elected office, and visited the Hogwarts campus. The charter school’s students are about 99 percent non-white, 88 percent of whom are considered economically disadvantaged.

Although Washington's Leadership Academy’s experiment with virtual reality technology is largely anomalous in K-12 education, it reflects the potential of virtual reality to provide students with the sort of learning opportunities once only available to their more affluent peers.

While the application of VR to core academics remains nascent, early returns are promising: research now suggests students retain more information and can better synthesize and apply what they have learned after participating in virtual reality exercises.

And the technology is moving within the reach of classroom teachers. While once considered high-end and cost-prohibitive, virtual reality is becoming more affordable. Discovery VR and Google Expeditions offer several virtual reality experiences for free. Simple VR viewers now come in relatively low-cost DIY cardboard view boxes, like Google Cardboard, that fit a range of VR-capable smartphones.

As the costs of VR headsets fall, the expense of frequent virtual field trips may soon be lower, in many cases, than the cost of even a single field trip or guest speaker.

Read the full article about integrating VR into the curriculum by Jan Sikorsky at EdSurge.