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How to Create Virtual Reality Experiences in Your Classroom

How to Create Virtual Reality Experiences in Your Classroom

Educator and curriculum specialist Glenn Wiebe is a big fan of the Google Cardboard--a cardboard viewing device that easily provides individuals with 360 degree virtual reality experiences. In a post for the blog History Tech, Wiebe offers some advice to educators interested in seeing what the VR trend is all about. 

While you may have heard of Google Cardboard in relation to Google’s Expeditions, which is currently in its pilot phase, you might not realize that you can buy and use the viewing device right now.

Even though you won’t have access to Google Expeditions just yet (meaning you won’t have access to the 100 plus virtual reality “journeys” that Google has created to accompany the cardboard devices), according to Wiebe, there are plenty of apps already out there that can make the device useful.

Educators can use Google StreetView, for example, to “walk” through famous landmarks, historical sites or any given community or can attach the device to other VR video lists created by big names like Discovery Channel and The New York Times.

The best part about Google Cardboard is that its simple design makes it cost efficient. While other view finders can be up to hundreds of dollars per, Google Cardboard sells for just $15 a pop. (Note: though the site currently says they are out-of-stock, many other vendors are selling them). 

But before educators take the plunge into making VR a part of the classroom, Wiebe encourages them to make sure they are remembering the educational value. There may be plenty of cost efficient viewing devices out there, but lesson plans are lacking so far.

"Just because something is cool – and Cardboard is – doesn’t mean that all you do is have kids look at cool StreetViews of the Great Pyramids and walk through the White House. Is this a hook activity? A writing prompt? Does the app supplement their text? Could you have students create local histories based on photospheres that they create on StreetView?”

"Be clear about the end in mind. There are very few Cardboard lesson plans out there so think it through and make it clear to students what you expect from the activity.”

Read Wiebe’s full post here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/13/2016

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