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A teachers guide to Implementing Virtual Reality: Use Case 1 – Immersive VR, active engagement.
Virtual Reality: the future of learning? Already, teachers are incorporating VR into their classrooms, but with so much content to choose from, what should teachers be teaching and how should they be explaining it? You've probably heard of how great a medium VR is in general, especially for storytelling. In this post, I’ll be focusing on the Use Case of viewing ready-made content and where to find educational content as well as freely available materials. The Use Case of immersive VR viewing educational VR content is not new, especially for ‘learning through experience’ It can be a real game changer for students as they have an opportunity to immerse themselves fully into virtual settings and are able to experience situations that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to replicate. Image: edgedVR – Learning about space in VR Content has become more and more accessible for teachers to use during class, but its implementation in the classroom has been recently raised through new applications and consumables headsets. 6 ways to successfully implement VR in the classroom 1. Develop a clear plan: Before introducing VR into the classroom, it's important to have a clear plan for how it will be used, including what content will be covered, what activities will be used, and how the technology will be integrated into the curriculum. Download the Schools VR plan template to help formulate your plan. 2. Ensure compatibility: Make sure that the VR technology you are planning to use is compatible with the devices and software that you already have in the classroom. It's also important to ensure that the VR content you are planning to use is appropriate for your student's age and skill level. 3. Provide training and support: Provide training and support for both teachers and students to ensure that they are comfortable with the VR technology and know how to use it effectively 4. Start small : It's best to start with a small pilot program and gradually expand the use of VR in the classroom as teachers and students become more comfortable with the technology. 5. Assess and evaluate : Regularly assess and evaluate the use of VR in the classroom to determine its effectiveness and make adjustments as needed. 6. Incorporate a blended learning approach : VR should be used in conjunction with other teaching methods rather than as a standalone tool, as it can be a powerful tool to enhance the learning experience. How to make students connect using ways like thinking and linking Teachers should be mindful that VR is not a replacement for the real world, nor is it a replacement for watching videos. Some concepts are better learned through observing the real thing, while others are better learned with VR. While we don't know everything there is to know about how to use VR in the classroom, students will get more out of their experience with VR if we encourage them to think about what they're seeing and make connections with the real world. Let's say they're looking at DNA up close. If students identify something they've seen in a biology class before, or something similar in the real world, then they already have something to connect what they're seeing with when they take a real-life biology class. But if we just show them a video of DNA and explain it as a straight lesson, then we haven't done as much for their learning as we could if we added other elements to their experience. Image: edgedVR – DNA VR learning Tips for Teachers to prepare classrooms to include all aspects of experiential learning using VR Provide Concrete Experience – Students actively engage in an experience by using VR which should include activities such as selecting, identifying, moving between scenes and so forth Enable Reflective Observation – Students reflect on the experience, identifying any connections, inconsistencies, or alignment between the experience and their prior knowledge. Allow for Conceptual Thinking – Through reflection, students generate new understandings/ideas or modifies their existing conceptualization of an idea/concept to draw conclusions and make hypotheses. Active Experimentation – Students test their conclusions/hypotheses by applying their knowledge. Just like in any educational endeavour, the choice of a VR app depends on the needs and objectives of your students. While the benefits of VR are many, it is important to understand its limitations as well. What many people don't realize though is that it's still really hard to write good VR applications — especially if you want them to work simultaneously on different platforms with different controllers and devices. What you can do is find some content that will inspire your students and help them understand what this new technology can do for them! There are tons of great resources, some are freely available. Here are some ideas on use cases and where to find VR educational content for immersive viewing. Virtual field trips : Teachers can use VR headsets to take their students on virtual field trips to places such as historical sites, museums, or other countries. This allows students to experience and learn about different cultures and locations without leaving the classroom. Travel all over the world to cities and locations here : https://www.360cities.net/ STEM simulations: Teachers can use VR to show students simulations of scientific concepts such as how atoms bond, how a cell functions, or how a volcano erupts. This helps students to understand complex concepts in a more interactive and engaging way. Learn https://veativelearn.com/ Language learning : Teachers can use VR to immerse students in virtual environments where they can practice speaking and listening in a foreign language. This allows students to experience the culture and the language in a more authentic way. https://learn.veative.com/modules?domain=Language+Learning Social studies : Teachers can use VR to bring historical events to life and help students better understand the context and significance of what they are learning For example, they can use VR to simulate a historical battle or a visit to a historical site. Kokoda in VR Oculus educational content https://www.wildimmersion.io/en Special education : Teachers can use VR to help students with special needs, such as autism, learn social and emotional skills in a safe and controlled environment. https://vr.youtube.com/ Art and Design : VR can be used to provide students with virtual art studios, where they can create and experiment with digital art, animation and 3D design. Career exploration : VR can be used to give students a virtual tour of different workplaces, such as a hospital or a construction site, and show them what it's like to work in different fields. FarmVR Forest VR Therapy and Counselling: VR can be used as a therapeutic tool for students with mental health issues. For example, it can be used to simulate a calming environment for students with anxiety or to help students with phobias confront their fears in a safe and controlled environment. Some amazing FREE wellness content here https://liminalvr.com/corporate-wellness/
4 Practical things Schools should consider before Introducing Virtual Reality
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: Specifications What to look for Movement 3DoF or 6DoF? 3DoF is great, you might want to introduce 6DoF later on Resolution 4K is fantastic, You might even like 2.5K as a cheaper option Refresh Rate Don't go less than 72Hz Storage Anything from 32GB is fine unless you plan to download lots of apps Battery Life 2-3 hours is average DPVR has 5hrs (best we’ve found so far) Field-of-view 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.
The benefits of using VR to help new employees step into their role with confidence
Why you should consider Virtual Reality for onboarding Driven by increasing demands on delivery outcomes, the small - medium business owners focus on capabilities and skills to get the job done and with Onboarding best practices taking up to 3 months; it often becomes inconsistent and generally new employees are expected to integrate as quickly as possible by ‘hitting the ground running’ or having to rely on team members to help them out. Employers want employees to belong, feel engaged whilst getting the job done. Some of the reasons why onboarding becomes complicated are: the setting up of onboarding processes which aren’t always prioritised, time constraints, not knowing how to engage with employees working from home and teams that are split interstate , or just too many variables. How does VR help provide a benefit? Choosing to use virtual reality for onboarding can immediately raise the level of engagement of employees by delivering the induction process in a fun, practical and impactful way. Being immersed in a real space, using 360-degree images and 3D environments, employees feel the emotions of being present and this aids in their learning process and retaining information. A VR solution combines and streamlines all onboarding activities in one place. The benefits clearly helping to shorten the onboarding period and help employees feel engaged. Delivering a consistent message , share a message from the CEO that delivers the vision and key goals of the company. This message in VR can be impactful and by making it interactive via gamification, allows the employee to feel quickly integrated with company values and culture. Showcasing the office, kitchen/meeting places or different sites, new starters become familiar with various locations by transporting them via a Virtual Tour to production sites, manufacturing plants and workshops that might not usually be within easy reach. By immersing them in these tours new employees can immediately relate and feel appropriately succinct providing huge benefits in those initial meetings. Provide upfront scenario-based training for onboarding situations, such as, instructions on how set up their IT equipment, perhaps include a quiz about their level of technical competency, giving employers an indication of how much assistance the employee might need, information about their desk space should they eventually come into the office; right down to where to find office supplies. Opportunities to further improve skills based training Besides onboarding, key training situations could be; health and safety in the workplace, and more scenario skills based training such as introducing information about customers, sales or company products and services. These onboarding and training situations can give an employee key insight at the start of their learning, which could generally take many weeks to understand. Virtual Reality brings the WOW For those working remotely, the learning curve is usually steep, compared to those in the office where often learning is via coffee chats and water coolers. There’s a genuine hesitation for companies to move forward with emerging technology and a key factor being introducing new ways of working which could impact day to day productivity. However, there’s tons of research that connects high levels of engagement with increased productivity and businesses should be looking to stand out and WOW their employees.
How small business can engage with VR technology to gain a competitive edge
Small business may be tempted to not engage with trending technology but there are risks associated with not evolving and not staying relevant in a changing market. With the trajectory of digitalisation in business accelerated owing to the coronavirus pandemic which has fast become a catalyst in reviving business and consumer interest in emerging technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, here is a first step to integrate virtual technology into your small business. Use high resolution 360-degree images If you are a business that engages with social media such as Facebook, YouTube and Google to advertise and market, you will be aware that visual media performs better than text. It is becoming more and more challenging to standout and connect with your customers and having stunning and compelling visual content is critically important to your digital marketing strategy. With 360⁰ images your customers get to view and experience your products or location from the convenience of their computer or smartphone. Using these immersive images on your social media and website allows customers to virtually interact with your business or product. 3 ways this increases customer contact Increased customer engagement: as there is an element of exploration with 360⁰ images, customers will spend more time browsing and viewing your products. The longer they engage with your website the increased likelihood of them becoming a paying customer. Google Street View: by adding 360-degree images to your Google Street View, you further entice customers by showcasing your location and products. Increase Search engine rankings: these rankings are increased by increasing the amount of time a visitor spends on your website. 360-degree Images encourage a customer to spend more time browsing and exploring your website. DO IT YOURSELF! You can easily do this by creating and publishing your own 360⁰ images. See here https://www.momento360.com/
Is your school ready for VR? Top 6 things to consider
When schools are seeking out the latest education opportunities in the area of emerging technology, it doesn’t get more exciting than virtual reality. But it can be daunting for educators to understand where to start. Through our work with schools and taking students from Key Stages 3 to 6 through this process, we’ve come up with a list of our top 6 things you should consider before jumping into the virtual reality world. Top 6 things to consider 1. Consider the usability There’s a variety of headsets available, cheap or expensive. Consider how many you need and if you hire rather than buy. If your school has firewalls in place with restricted internet access, IT will be required to support the implementation process. 2. Have Virtual Reality intro day Consider having a day to allow the students to explore with various equipment and software. Find more content if headsets are stand-alone types and support students to do some research. 3. Be mindful of health & safety When providing an immersive subject experience for your students, health and safety is imperative. Oculus offer a great resource with more information on what you may need to consider when using of headsets. https://www.oculus.com/safety-center/ 4. Integrate VR with your lessons You wouldn't want to have a box of VR headsets in the cupboard that never get used. Include it in a lesson plan so it becomes part of your subject teaching. 5. Combine creativity and technology How far can you go? Student can create wonderful projects, you could decide to create your own content, students can design in VR, coding, taking 360-degree images, editing in Photoshop or building in 3D. 6. Teach, lead and inspire! Exposing students to emerging technology opens doors to conversations on future careers and work placement opportunities. Help them join the dots! Have a look at our high school case study here