Virtual Simulation

Virtual Reality - Simple And Complex

Your computer is a great source of simulated educational activities. Virtual Reality -- a term that implies all things to all people -- is really another name for simulation. The term virtual reality implies to many people a sophisticated setup with goggles and helmets and special gloves and an enclosed cybernetic environment. There are such situations. So much basic and easy to use material is available for the computer that no one need be afraid of virtual reality. There are three ways to use your computer for simulation activities:

1. Run a simulation program on your computer.

It's amazing how really simple, yet amazingly effective this can be. There are so many computer simulation programs (kids will call them games), that it's impossible to list them all. "Games" like Flight Simulator (pictured to the right) are just one example of a simulation. Flight simulation on the computer is so good that you could actually learn the ground school portion of what is required for a beginner's pilot's license on the computer. And you'd probably be quite comfortable on your first flight as a student pilot. There is quite a bit of educational shareware available as well.

2. Use simulations on the World Wide Web

There are many amazing simulations usable by teachers on the World Wide Web. A little searching and you may very well find a simulation related to your teaching. Pictured above and to the right are screen shots from the SMG2000 stock market simulation. More information is available on their web site at

3. Enhance simulations with computers

Many simulations you run can be enhanced with computers. You can display images and pictures on a computer screen to add reality to many simulations. The picture at the right shows Flight Simulator running on a big screen TV inside University School's flight simulator. You can see the yoke, but the obvious point is that the computer adds realistic images. This is virtual reality. Simple, yes. Virtual reality devices do not have to be complex.