VIRTUAL REALITY AS A NEW TOOL IN TEACHING ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES TO ECOLOGY STUDENTS
It is difficult to imagine the current educational landscape without using virtual reality technologies. As for foreign languages teaching, the opportunities of this new technology claim to be so limitless that teachers seem not to have fully realized yet what a powerful tool has appeared at their disposal. However, despite the obvious advantages of virtual reality for learning foreign languages, this technology has not yet become widespread for a number of reasons; there are also no reliable studies devoted to proving its effectiveness. The paper presents the results of monitoring conducted to establish the degree of awareness of foreign language teachers from various higher education institutions of Russia about the possibilities of using educational technologies of virtual reality in the practice of teaching ESP. The paper also provides the results of a survey of ecology students about their readiness to use virtual reality in foreign language classes. The paper suggests sample exercises designed for ecology students based on the content of Google Expeditions, StreetView, and Youtube 360. It is shown that virtual reality tools can be used to study special vocabulary on topics such as Climate change, Ecosystems, Energy, and Forests, Oceans, and Seas, Water. The authors believe that "virtual immersion" in various authentic environments when studying vocabulary will allow students to cope with the task of mastering career-specific vocabulary more effectively.