Before jumping into purchasing devices there's a few things you might want to explore.
Head Mounted Devices (HMD) are a big part of the experience, and the question is what do schools need to know to make an informed decision?
We went out and did the research, evaluated various HMDs, investigated available educational content, assessed challenges with school system networks and then tested with students and teachers to help you decide.
Deciding what’s important and what’s not means different things to different schools, therefore we’ve outlined the top 4 key pain points to help you on your way.
1. Student Safety: Movement & Space
The freedom to move around with a HMD is known as Degrees of Freedom (DoF) - You have a choice between 3DoF or 6DoF. Each will be best used for a different scenario.
Here are some of use cases we’ve found our School Customers are looking into.
3 DoF use case - Mainly for viewing specific subject related content, best used during a lesson to enhance student engagement. Better for junior high or when students are seated with limited movement required. It's still a great immersive experience. Here are some 3DOF option to look at: DPVR P1 2.5K or 4K and Pico G2
6 DoF use case - Designing and exploring on various creative applications with freedom of movement, gaming type applications and open choices for app purchase. Minimum of a 2Square meter space required for safety and movement. Look for Oculus Quest 2 (has some limitations) or HTC Vive Focus 3 and Pico Neo 3.
2. Management of Devices
The management of devices has various components to consider like keeping track and storing devices as per School Technical Assets Register.
How many devices would you need? The quick answer is, enough to keep all students in the classroom engaged. Consider designing lessons so that students can share devices. .
For Storage and charging we recommend a purposely designed case to store devices away neatly with inbuilt charging mechanisms.
Disinfecting Devices and Health & Safety protocols, we recommend a storage anti-virus case. You can find a DPVR Anti-virus case, an All-in-One storage and charging unit, at an affordable price.
For further info on Cleaning and Disinfecting Virtual Reality Equipment under the NSW public health go here https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/update/Pages/cleaning-disinfecting-vr-equipment.aspx .
3. Educational Content and Management
Educational Content is becoming more available, however, there are various platforms that require subscription options. You can download content straight from within the HMD, don’t forget to check your storage levels!
Vive Port, Oculus Quest, DPVR and Pico have great educational content available on most HMDs, some of it free. There is Free VR Content on YouTube and YouTube VR but some schools require a content management system to control what students are able to view.
Teacher resources such as VR lessons and worksheets for subjects like History or Geography are becoming more available from companies like Smartstone and
VR Learning & Design Hub, who are creating Australian curriculum content.
We are big fans of students being creators, producing their own content and learning skills for future jobs and careers, using VR authorising tool like present4D. The VRCreate course allows students to build and design in VR software using 360 degree images and other interactive content which can be viewed directly into a headset device.
4. Tech Specs vs Price
One of the pain points brought up by teachers trying to introduce VR to schools is Price. From our experience Schools don’t need to go for high end technology specs, unless you’re in gaming and development, the average tech spec will be more than enough. Some things you could look out for are:
What to look for
3DoF or 6DoF? 3DoF is great, you might want to introduce 6DoF later on
4K is fantastic, You might even like 2.5K as a cheaper option
Don't go less than 72Hz
Anything from 32GB is fine unless you plan to download lots of apps
2-3 hours is average DPVR has 5hrs (best we’ve found so far)
Not less than100° to allow for immersive feeling
See our Questionnaire form for schools below. These questions will assist in developing a clear use case and take into consideration the points above to help create a holistic approach and justification for price.