VIRTUAL REALITY IN EDUCATION
Augment Reality took over the world this past summer with Pokemon Go. But the real reality that will take over the world of education is virtual reality.
Virtual reality (VR) typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment (or create an imaginary setting), and simulate a user’s physical presence in this environment, by enabling the user to interact with this space and any objects depicted therein using specialized display screens or projectors and other devices. VR has been defined as “…a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body” or as an “immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer”. A person using virtual reality equipment is typically able to “look around” the artificial world, move about in it and interact with features or items that are depicted on a screen or in goggles. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experiences, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and, less commonly, smell. Most 2016-era virtual realities are displayed either on a computer monitor, a projector screen, or with a virtual reality headset (also called head-mounted display or HMD). (fro wikipedia)
In the creation of our school district’s 10-year technology plan, one of the initiatives to think of technology as more than just the device. Too often schools stop integrating technology at the device level and never bring in additional accessories or experiences for students. One of our first initiatives was the creation of three virtual reality classroom kits to allow our teachers and students to teach and learn with the virtual reality tools.
Our kits include the following:
1 – Pelican 1780 case – Amazon – $420
28 – ViewMaster VR Goggles Version 1 – Amazon – $18 each OR
28 -ViewMaster VR Goggles Deluxe – Amazon – $32 each (I recommend these)
28 – iPod Touch (16GB) – Apple – $199 each
28 – Lightning cords for iPod Touch – included with iPod Touch
Our VR Kit with the Original ViewMaster VR Goggles
Our VR Kit with the Original ViewMaster VR Deluxe Goggles
We have also now created two small kits that contain 12 ViewMaster VR Goggles and 12 iPod Touches. This smaller kit is better for use in station rotation models of blended learning when groups of students are doing different tasks.
Our kits include the following:
1 – Pelican 1650 case – Amazon – $300
12 – ViewMaster VR Goggles Version 1 – Amazon – $18 each OR
12 -ViewMaster VR Goggles Deluxe – Amazon – $32 each (I recommend these)
12 – iPod Touch (16GB) – Apple – $199 each
12 – Lightning cords for iPod Touch – included with iPod Touch
Our smaller station rotation VR Kit with the Original ViewMaster VR Deluxe Goggles
Apps that we have loaded:
Google Cardboard – Cardboard puts virtual reality on your iPhone. The Google Cardboard app helps you set up a Cardboard viewer and includes a few experiences to get you started: Explorer: Explore exciting environments, Exhibit: View 3D objects from a museum collection, Urban Hike: Take a hike through iconic cities around the world, Kaleidoscope: Enjoy a fun stereoscopic take on the old classic, Arctic Journey: Fly alongside Arctic terns, create your own flower garden, relax under the northern lights and more.
Google Expeditions – Google Expeditions is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space! Built for the classroom and small group use, Google Expeditions allows a teacher acting as a “guide” to lead classroom-sized groups of “explorers” through collections of 360° and 3D images while pointing out interesting sights along the way. Click here for more information about the different Google Expeditions.
Google Street View – Explore world landmarks, discover natural wonders and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, restaurants and small businesses with Google Street View.
ViewMaster – Destinations – allows you to visit landmarks in three of the world’s most famous cities — virtually! Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, explore the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza or experience London’s Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
ViewMaster – Underwater – immerses you in amazing undersea adventures – virtually! Dive with penguins into icy depths or swim with tropical fish among vibrant coral reefs in an undersea photographer mini-game. Race against time and collect treasure while exploring a sunken ship, and find yourself in the middle of stunning movie clips from a Discovery Channel dive in the Bahamas “Shark Junction.”
ViewMaster – Space – takes you on trips that are out of this world — virtually! Explore our solar system, see spacecraft up close or experience the night sky in a whole new way. Learn new facts, trace constellations, and even compare planetary gravity through mini-games!
ViewMaster – Wildlife – takes you on safari in three of the world’s most famous spots — virtually! Walk on the wild side with kangaroos and koalas in the Australian Outback, sloths and jaguars in the Amazon and native animals on the African Savanna.
ViewMaster – Dinosaurs – takes you back to prehistoric eras at a time when dinosaurs ruled the land. Encounter massive dinosaurs in their natural habitats and feel like you are truly there with panoramic views and realistic sound effects. Capture their movements with photos you can save to your smartphone. Play a thrilling, interactive survival game where you hunt for food and avoid being prey! Examine exhibits of and study dinosaurs from every angle as you learn about them through photos and notes from National Geographic’s vast archives. Explore all of this while being able to customize dinosaur skins.
Cardio VR – enter a virtual reality doctor’s surgery where you search for your patient’s ailment using x-ray vision. And speaking of vision, navigate your way through the diagnosis using your eyes – just look at the eye icon for help. Cardio is a fun, child-friendly and gender-neutral immersive experience. There is no win or lose, just come and enjoy the surgery.
Discovery VR – a new way to see your world. Discovery has always been about driving curiosity – exploring new places, characters and ideas. Virtual reality allows us a new opportunity to tell these kinds of stories, immersing you in experiences like never before.
InCell VR – is an action/racing game with a bit of strategy and bio science thrown into the mix in a rare and highly unusual micro world of the carefully recreated human cell. This is the right project to start your acquaintance with Cardboard VR or receive new VR impressions. The game is focused on Virtual Reality but you can play just fine without a set (Cardboard or any other).
InMind VR – is a short adventure with arcade elements designed for the Cardboard and other Virtual Reality viewers for iOS devices. It’s also playable without any special viewer (just tap and hold to switch modes). This VR game allows the player to experience the journey into the patient’s brains in search of the neurons that cause mental disorder. Submerge into the microworld and experience the miracles of the human mind.
Jaunt VR – watch over 100 premium, cinematic virtual reality experiences – with or without a headset!
Jurassic VR – There is no need anymore to become an archaeologist and dig the earth for fossilized dino bones to learn more about the majestic creatures that ruled our earth 65 million years ago. Archaeology is simply too boring and digging up fossils take a whole lot of time. You can study them right now using your favorite VR goggles! Meet and greet with your favourite dino – This amazing app is like a time machine that takes you back in time. Learn more about the history of dinosaurs and stand in awe as you explore a rich virtual reality world filled with dinosaurs in amazing 3D. Explore the island’s Jurassic shores and dense jungle. Safely observe the deadly creatures as they prowl their natural habitat. Hunt for your favorite creature on the vast plains and secluded mountain ranges. The app includes many breed of dinosaurs; from hunting carnivores like the towering T-Rex to smaller mini specimens such as the Dilophosaurus.
Liftoff VR – Have you ever wanted to launch a rocket to the stars? Liftoff VR enables you to experience that along with the added challenge of landing the booster rocket back on a drone ship after successfully deploying a satellite to space. All you need is a Google Cardboard Viewer, your iPhone, and a few minutes to experience something magical.
Nearpod – The Nearpod platform enables teachers, schools and districts, to use their iPads to manage content on students’ iPads, iPhones, iPods or Macs. It seamlessly combines interactive presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.
NYT VR – Through virtual reality, The New York Times puts you at the center of the stories only we can tell. Every day, we bring the world to our readers. With NYT VR, we bring our readers to the world. Experience incredible stories reported by award-winning journalists, all told in an immersive, 360-degree video experience. The limits of our storytelling capabilities now stretch further than we ever before imagined, and we are excited to experiment with this new form of journalism.
Random42 VR – Take a visually stunning and scientifically accurate 3D ride inside the human body. Watch red blood cells floating past, follow a signalling pathway into the nucleus or see bacteria dividing right next to you. This showreel of our latest Virtual Reality work shows the power of medical animation and how new technology can be harnessed today to understand complex scientific subjects. If you work in the medical field just go to our website and order a pair of Google Cardboard for free!
Roller Coaster VR – Ride a deserted roller-coaster amidst a tropical island. See the fabulous dream of Virtual World.
VR Space for Google Cardboard VR – Get ready to explore a cool virtual world in 3D virtual reality. Experience the real sensation of being INSIDE the alien space ship, and seeing depth with just your mobile virtual reality headset. This game boasts an oculus rift style 360 VR field of view, a large alien spacecraft you can explore. Hold your trigger on your Google Cardboard headset or any button on your gamepad to walk in the direction you are looking at, and let go to stop.
Star Wars VR – is your official mobile connection to a galaxy far, far away. Winner of the 2016 People’s Voice Webby Award, the Star Wars app immerses you in breaking news, rich media, social updates, special events, and interactive features. Here’s where the fun begins:
VR Lessons by ThingLink – is a collection of stunning interactive 360 image and video journeys on a variety of topics including science, language, and arts. Take your children to places they could only dream of exploring. This app gives wings to their imagination!
VR Maze –
Virtual Reality Moon for Google Cardboard VR – Use your virtual reality headset to explore the moon on foot!
VR Planetarium – Certainly, many people have dreamed of becoming astronauts, flying in space and walk on the planets. And our app makes your childhood dream a little bit more realistic
VR Sea, Ocean, and Island – Move and look all around you while you walk in the Jurassic Zoo — you can see in front, behind, up and even down. Walk through the dense jungle and have experience the beauties of grass, trees, river, ocean in this fabulous dream of Jurassic forest Virtual World. Meet various animals including chicken, hen, deer, cow, elephant, and zebra and enjoy shaking hands with them. It will be real fun chasing them when you try reach closer to them. Use your VR headset button or simply tap the screen to reset the level. Enjoy driving around in virtual reality!
If you know of or are using additional VR apps, please let me know! We will add more apps to this list as we keep using more and more VR apps.
Hints and Tips for Using VR with Students
- Make sure the students are seated the entire time they are viewing VR. They will tend to want to walk around.
- Make sure as the teacher you take time to “play” with the apps. Know what the students will be seeing.
- Let the students time to “play”. This will be the coolest thing of their day. Allow them time to be immersed in the app.
- Use VR to help “close the gap”. Part of the instructional gap is the lack of experiences. VR can be used to bridge those gaps.
- To close the achievement gap, you must first close the engagement gap. VR is a huge on closing the engagement gap!