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Virtual Reality Headsets Now Part of School Curriculum in Select Russian Schools

VR is on the rise in the largest country on Earth

Virtual reality is gradually being implemented in the world’s largest country. Five schools in Dzerzhinsk in the Nizhny Novgorod region have rolled out lessons on life safety using VR headsets. They are used to simulate dangerous situations, as reported by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The introduction of virtual reality to these schools is part of the “Immersive School” project, which won a federal competition in the field of AR and VR. The competition’s goal was to find the most promising solutions in the field of web technologies, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, Industry 4.0 and other areas.

The students put on the virtual reality headsets during the lessons to learn more about the order of actions in dangerous situations – a fire, earthquake or accident. The class is divided into teams, which compete with each other and collaborate to find the right action to take in a given scenario.

The project was implemented as a pilot in Dzerzhinsk, and now it has been introduced in Nizhny Novgorod. Yuri Shalabaev, the mayor head of the city, stated that VR headsets will appear in all schools of Nizhny Novgorod by the end of 2021. It is unknown whether this number has been reached as of Q1 of 2022.

Photo credit: Nizhny Novgorod Administration

The director of the company that developed the “Immersive School” project, Mikhail Evstifeev, announced the expansion of the program. These schools are encouraged to introduce virtual modules in chemistry, physics and biology, and later on in world culture, history and technology. According to Evstifeev, the project foresees that students will create their own avatars and develop them as they achieve their goals, thereby engaging in the learning process.

The developers have also created several scenarios for classes in other disciplines. For physics, they created an app called “Aeronautics,” in which students have to choose a flying machine in the atmosphere and weather conditions of another planet. In the chemistry scenario, students will have to determine the materials for creating a smartphone on an asteroid.

Outside of the classroom, virtual reality in Russia as a whole is on the rise and private startup investments are even being undertaken by billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov. Covid-19 has also served as a springboard to implement VR in the country across a number of different fields.

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