VR technology to help Norwegian boys improve maths learning

OSLO (Xinhua) – Several municipalities in Norway have tested a new virtual reality (VR) product that will help students, especially boys, improve their basic mathematical skills, newspaper Aftenposten reported on Monday.

The product, which consists of an ordinary pair of VR glasses, a mobile phone and a specially developed application, is not meant to replace traditional education but come in addition to it.

The glasses will take students to a shop and make mathematics concrete and practical, the report said.

The goal is to help raise the level of basic math knowledge of students from the 5th grade on.

“The results are good, especially for the boys. You get 100 per cent focus on learning, rather than distracting. We have experienced that boys have gone home to practise maths to do better next time they wear the glasses,” said Per Olav Nyborg, general manager of the company VR Education that made the product.

By the end of the year, the glasses are to be on regular sales market. But within that time, tests will be carried out at several schools, Aftenposten wrote.

Thomas Nordahl, professor of pedagogy at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, concluded that the results of the product testing were promising.

“The boys who have been using VR technology in mathematics have seen a lot of progress compared to boys who have had regular education. This is an important finding, because boys in school today have a clearly poorer learning outcome than girls,” Nordahl wrote in a report.

Per Olav Nyborg thinks this method may eventually be applicable to subjects other than maths.

“It may be possible to train basic skills such as reading and writing, in the same way,” he said.