Students and Teachers Recognize the Value of XR

January 30, 2023

Over the past three years, school districts were forced to embrace electronic and asynchronous

learning. Some teachers and school districts went even further and are using virtual and augmented reality in the classroom. This method has enhanced the learning experience by providing virtual environments that allow students to explore and learn about a wide range of subjects in a more engaging and interactive way.

To better understand teachers’ sentiments about XR use in the classroom, the XR Association (XRA) partnered with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to survey 1400 American High School teachers who have used the technology. XRA also interviewed teachers from across the country to learn first-hand the benefits and challenges to this new deployment. We were amazed at how excited our educators and their students are to use this technology in all aspects of learning from core curriculum to electives to career planning.

The overall sentiment from teachers across the country revealed that XR, the overarching term for augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology, is well-positioned to become an essential teaching tool in high school classrooms.

The use of XR in education has the potential to increase student engagement and help students develop a deeper understanding of their coursework, career skills, and each other. 

A California teacher we interviewed found that students are more motivated to complete 3D

assignments because they dive into the course material and can experience it first-hand. “Every time my students put on the [VR] headset, almost 100% of them say how cool it is. It’s really a game changer for them.”

Teachers recognized that XR can support a variety of academic, engagement and career-related outcomes. Notably: 

  • 82% of respondents said XR learning experiences are generally well-designed and deliver high-quality academic information to students.
  • 94% of teachers believe that aligning XR curriculums to academic standards is important.
  • 67% hope that XR technologies will be used regularly in schools.

Student motivation and morale dropped in the 2020-2021 school year and are still recovering, forcing teachers to incorporate innovative ways into classroom engagement. Seventy-seven percent of polled teachers agree that XR inspires curiosity and increases student engagement. 

Additionally, roughly three-quarters of responding teachers felt that XR offered students new opportunities to explore academic concepts in depth, build career skills, and build social and empathy skills. For example, one teacher in Colorado encourages his students to work with local nonprofits and build custom XR experiences for the community. This hands-on experience working with local businesses has helped students prepare for the professional world in ways that would be difficult without immersive technology.

While a majority of teachers value XR technology in the classroom, some educators have legitimate concerns – such as costs and the potential long-term impact of XR use. To capture the value of XR, experiences should align with curriculum standards and support learning objectives. 

According to respondents:

  • 62% agreed XR standards should be implemented before use in the classroom.
  • 58% agreed immersive learning should always include teacher training or professional development.

XR technologies can be a game changer for the education industry. This technology has demonstrated the power to increase engagement and transform how students develop a deeper understanding of their coursework and career skills. XR’s ability to create immersive worlds and share ideas in new ways positions it as a breakthrough technology to support effective teaching and learning. 

To learn more about what teachers think regarding the use of XR technology in the classroom, take a look at our infographic. We also surveyed over 600 high school students on their opinions of XR. Most teens agree XR will positively impact their lives and they will own a headset in the future. For more information on our survey of high school students and education workshop, read our blog.

As part of our mission to support responsible development in XR technology in the classroom, XRA published the fourth chapter of its Developers Guide – a starter guide for developers designing immersive experiences. The chapter, titled: “Designing Immersive Learning for Secondary Education,” offers a set of industry-backed best practices for creating XR programs to fit the education space and emphasizes the importance of creating programs tailored for classroom learning.

Written by

Stephanie Montgomery

Stephanie Montgomery serves as the XR Association’s Vice President of Research and Best Practices. In this position, Montgomery oversees the implementation of XRA’s research agenda, development of its catalogue of industry-leading best practices, and management of its Health and Inclusion committees.

Montgomery previously served as the Vice President of Technology and Standards at the Telecommunications Industry Association where she worked with national and international bodies to develop standards driving the adoption of ICT technology.

Montgomery is a recipient of the ANSI Meritorious Service Award and received her B.A. from Hood College.