What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is when a learner puts on googles and blocks out their reality to experience something in the virtual world. It is different than augmented reality because you block out your surroundings and just interact in the virtual world.
Virtual reality has come down in cost considerably. Most people think of very expensive solutions like Oculus Rift to experiences VR but so many now are accessible using smartphones and holders like Google Cardboard.
Here are some great apps that allow you to use virtual reality in Education
NearPod – Nearpod offers virtual field trips as part of their presentation software. Students can use Nearpod and iPad or a smartphone to explore sites all over the world.
The New York times has begun to publish virtual reality stories as part of their reporting. This is a wonderful way to bring your students into real world experiences beyond their classroom and geographical location. I especially like the VR experience for a pilgrimage to Mecca. You can use this app to help improve student empathy and understanding or larger global issues.
I am very new to playing with this tool but this is one of the ones that I am most excited about. Co Spaces is a virtual reality app where users can log on online and design their own Virtual Reality Spaces.
So why I am excited about CoSpaces –
I am really new at this – they added scripting 2 weeks ago.. (as you can see my birds are flying no where!!) But it is enjoyable, allows for problem solving, and allows for the great “Look what I made” moment. They have a lot of examples that students can use to problem solve and prototype. For example, to make my flock of birds fly, I used 1 bird and then modified the code from their example to make a flock. Think of the questions I could ask – how do I get them into V formation? How do I get them to fly farther? What do the coordinates mean?
To talk with other educators integrating CoSpaces in their teaching, join their PLC on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/480579362131541/
To read more about VR In Education Check out these articles
A research article and meta-analysis on virtual reality and education http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131513002108