In a world chock full of smartphones, digital cameras, and powerful computers, virtual reality and augmented reality are making their way into the lives of billions. We can no longer say that these technologies are just for gaming and entertainment. The possibilities in education are limitless and will only continue to improve.
Augmented and virtual reality can be a perfect fit in any class in order to engage your students. They can be used at the beginning of a unit to get students excited about the topic you are teaching. These technologies can also be incredibly effective in showing something that is best viewed in 360 or 3D. Imagine diving into the ocean with your students and looking around in a coral reef. Or perhaps you would like to take a journey into the human body like your very own Magic School Bus! Or maybe you’d like to hold the entire solar system in the palm of your hand. All of these things and so much more are possible with the help of AR and VR. But before we dive into some lesson ideas, let’s get more specific about what VR and AR actually are so you know the difference.
Augmented reality involves adding or overlaying digital elements onto the physical world. Typically your device needs a camera which shows the physical world with additional content overlayed on top. Virtually reality is an immersive, completely digital environment. Virtual reality usually requires a headset that completely blocks the user’s view of the real world and displays only a virtual one.
Ideas to get you started:
Merge Cubes - Hold the solar system in your hand with Galactic Explorer and explore the human body with Mr. Body (both are available in Self Service). Check with your DLC to get a class set of Merge Cubes.
YouTube 360 videos - Search YouTube for 360 videos. There are TONS! Check with your DLC to see if they have Google Cardboard or other VR headsets you can use.
Google Expeditions - Explore distant places in 360. Take your students on guided tours that have lots of cool locations and information.
Metaverse - Create an augmented reality scavenger hunt for your students or have them create their own using Metaverse. Works with phones or iPads.
SVRF - Find amazing 360/VR videos that your students can view on their computers, phones, iPads, or using a VR headset. You can also insert these videos in Metaverse experiences.