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Virtual reality is regarded as one of the most common issues about the future. It is a world that resembles the reality and the environment of the outside world which is programmed into the computer and can be altered at our own will. Virtual reality is the key towards achieving Malaysia’s goal “Vision 2020” and I strongly believe that the Malaysian government should set up virtual schools for the next generation.

First of all, it is time-flexible and convenient. Students can choose at what time they want to take their lessons and will not be too time-constrained by specific timetables used by traditional schools. This way, their school schedule will not collide with other plans for the day, and can leave anytime they want during emergencies or mealtimes by simply using a virtual ‘bookmark’ to indicate where the lessons stop and students will be able to resume studying later during the day.

Secondly, it is environmental-friendly. Books come from trees and men have been chopping down dozens and dozens of trees to accommodate the demand for paper to print textbooks and manufacture exercise books for students. Sooner or later, a whole forest of trees will be cut down just to make books for school-going children. With virtual reality, you only need the special equipments like the headgear and the data glove, and with the touch of a button, a whole list of information will be displayed before your eyes. By then, paper will not be needed anymore and trees can be saved. It also lessens the burden of the students to carry heavy textbooks in bags, especially if students live far away from school.

Besides that, the relationship between parents and their children can be brought closer together. Students, especially the younger ones, need assistance from the grown-ups to let them understand what they are learning through virtual reality. Therefore, parents can log into the virtual school with them and learn with them together in the school. Children are much more cooperative—experts have proven it—when they are with their parents, the closest people in their lives and this will enable them to learn better and strengthen the bond between them and their parents. And since learning time is adjustable, they can even start their lessons later in the evening or at night when their parents come home from work. That way, the parents can monitor their children easier and, at the same time, update themselves with information they have never encountered.

Furthermore, it can encourage and increase students’ interest in learning. Traditional schools use the old method to teach, and students listen to teachers going on and on about a topic until the students get bored. With virtual schools, there will be certain activities and games to make lessons more interesting, and the computer might even program virtual class trips to let students understand better about a subject, especially when it comes to Geography or History. This way, even the rowdiest student can be probed to learn and have interest in the subject.

Lastly, it prevents economical wastage and accidents. There are all kinds of students in a class, even clumsy ones. If we were to let the clumsy ones conduct experiments in a traditional school laboratory, there is bound to be accidents happening and even other students might get seriously hurt because of one clumsy feat from someone else. If virtual schools are set up, we can conduct the same experiment again and again, and if anything goes wrong, there will be no unwanted accidents. Likewise, the materials will not be easily wasted as it is all virtual and can be ‘refilled’ repeatedly.

As time goes by, the gadgets for virtual schools will be affordable if the Malaysian government introduce virtual schools into the country and become popular among the Malaysian citizens. If we want the best for our next generation and help Malaysian achieve “Vision 2020”, we should consider accepting this new era of education.

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