What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented reality is the use of technology to overlay or superimpose computer-generated images over a real-world view. This can be accomplished with wearables such as Google Glass or through mobile devices such as your smart phone. Aside from creating engaging new ways to interact with content, it can allow the connection between geo-located data to real-world coordinates. The applications are numerous!
Many entertainment-based applications are emerging such as PokemonGo or the use of overlaid data and images in sports broadcasts. However, emerging technologies such as Microsoft’s Hololens are promising new ways to both work and play.
Check out this Hololens Demo Trailer from Microsoft:
Here are some great VR apps that you can use with students in your classroom today:
What Is Virtual Reality (VR)?
One of the hottest new technologies to hit the scene is virtual reality (VR). Often dreamed about in science fiction books and film, this technology is quickly becoming a reality. In the past, computers simply lacked the power to affordably produce compelling VR experiences that were both believable and didn’t result in disorienting motion sickness. However, today, that’s no longer the case. In addition to mobile, phone-based VR options like the GearVR, high-end immersive experiences are becoming mainstream with head-mounted displays (HMDs) such as the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the Playstation VR.
Though initially targeted as consumer entertainment devices, their application for educational use is quickly becoming apparent. With VR we can give learners experiences that are otherwise cost-prohibitive or even impossible in the real world. Imagine taking students scuba diving to see a blue whale up close. Imagine taking them on a field trip to see the pyramids in Egypt. Now imagine taking them back in time to the height of the Egyptian empire as they were being built! What if you could take students to orbit Jupiter or pass through the rings of Saturn? The places and experiences we can give them are unlimited.
Now, imagine what students might create with this powerful tool! With tools like Google’s Tilt Brush or Vivecraft, a version of the popular Minecraft, modified for VR, students can create, design, and build anything! This is a powerful and immersive tool for creativity and digital storytelling.
To give you some ideas about how this technology works and the possibilities, check out these videos:
Experiences in the Meadowview VR Space
So, what sort of experiences are possible? Here’s a list of experiences, sorted by subject area, by our partners at foundry10.org: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vKQBsL4sh0J5beQBX98OoEbi7dlGG-VqmiuXWPgYF9Y/edit#gid=1892830393
When looking for experiences for your students, note that we have access to the HTC Vive headset.
Here are just a few of the great experiences available to you and your students:
- Vivecraft – Explore, create, and build worlds in Minecraft with this experience.
- Tilt Brush – Let your creativity flow as you paint in this three-dimensional space by Google.
- Google Earth VR – Tour your favorite spots on Earth in immersive 3D.
- The Lab – This collection of experiences by Valve includes catapulting robots, playing fetch with a robot dog, defending a castle with bow and arrow, fending off space ships, and much more.
- Titans of Space – Explore the solar system and see the scale of celestial objects.
- theBlu – Go scuba diving with a blue whale, jellyfish and sea turtles, or dive deep with bioluminescent organisms in the depths.
- Job Simulator – This highly-active and humorous simulation encourages you to explore cooking, office work, and auto shop work.
- Sunshine VR – Create with Minecraft-like blocks on a virtual table.
- Tabletop Simulator – Play or design your own tabletop games in this physics-based virtual board game experience.
- Audioshield – Looking for a workout? Try this music-based game with your favorite artists on YouTube.
Development of the VR Space
The development of the VR Space at Meadowview was part of our partnership with foundry10.org, an organization researching how students learn and how technology like VR can impact learning. Likewise, we created the space as part of our Media Center makeover, converting a book storage closet into this innovative and inviting space for students.
You can see more before and after pictures of the VR Space as well as pics of people experiencing it in this Google Photos Album.
Using the VR Space
To use the VR Space, contact Mrs. Ray to schedule a time for you and your class to visit. She is also happy to help you plan around the experience with coordinating media activities for your students while small groups rotate through the room.
Please review the expectations for the use of the space. Safety is important!
Want to know how the controllers work? See this cheat sheet.
Connect with Us:
Want to know more? Let’s connect!
Alicia Ray – @iluveducating
Lucas Gillispie – @lucasgillispie