Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Virtual the Classroom?

What do you think about when you hear the term "virtual reality?" Perhaps virtual gaming consoles, futuristic governmental programs or some type of space tech application? We bet that the last place you'd imagine VR being applied is inside the classroom.

However, whether you knew it or not, many institutions have been making steady progress inserting virtual reality technologies within elementary, high school and even university curriculums. The Medical Virtual Reality group at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies has been studying the use of virtual reality simulation technologies' potential implementation in medicine. A project called the World of Comenius last year installed multiple computers connected to the Oculus Rift DK2 Virtual Reality headset (we'll explore this tech in another post soon) in a classroom at a grammar school in Opava City, Czech Republic. The young students were treated to virtual biology and anatomy lessons in which they explored the different organs of their own bodies - virtually, of course. Hypergrid Business, an online publication focusing on the development of virtual reality and "OpenSim" technology, published a great article on the 5 ways virtual reality will change education. We encourage you to check it out!

This trend took another leap forward two days ago with an announcement by Google that made front-page headlines around the world. The technological giant, known for pushing the boundaries of nearly every status quo imaginable, reported the beginning of an initiative that will bring free virtual reality classroom systems to schools around the world. The program, called Google Expeditions, will provide teachers with all of the tools needed to take their students on journeys anywhere, starting by delivering "kits" to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Brazil.  The official website describes the Expeditions as the following:

 "Guided tours of places schools buses can't go. They are comprised of virtual reality panoramas and are led by a guide or teacher. Using a tablet, teachers can guide up to 50 students wearing virtual reality viewers. Teachers can guide their class and point out highlights while referring to editable notes."

Be sure to watch the goose bump-inspiring video below - and if you're a teacher, sign up to request an Expeditions delivery to your classroom - we are sure it will enhance your students' learning. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment