• AR, VR, and Mixed Reality in the Classroom!

    Posted by Amy Philyaw on 7/29/2019 10:00:00 AM

    What is Virtual Reality (VR)? Virtual Reality is an immersion into a fake reality in which the user thinks they are in a location that they actually are not. VR does not require the use of your devices camera. Virtual Reality allows users to experience an environment without being in the destination. It is a complete emersion experience that shuts out the real world. In order to view a VR simulation the user needs access to an iPad, smartphone, mobile device, or chrome book. Viewer headsets are another option in the VR viewing platform. One such device is the Oculus Quest. This is a gaming headset that immerses the user into a gaming world or virtual experience. Recently, the Education Foundation of Caldwell County, purchased 4 headsets for teachers to utilize within their classrooms. These devices were debuted during the Technology Showcase in mid July. More information on how to checkout the system will come. In the meantime, you can experience what Oculus Quest has to offer in your classroom by viewing this demo: Anne Frank. You may already have access to a VR device if you attended the Google workshops in the past. Google cardboard are an inexpensive way to have students experience VR expeditions using their own phones or borrowed devices. (Again the Education Foundation has a class set of mobile devices available for checkout to implement VR lessons). The Google Expedition app is a free download onto a chrome book, mobile device, or tablet. The cardboard devices are not a requirement for the app, as the user can visualize the tours either in AR or VR mode. The interesting  aspect about Google Expeditions is that it allows teachers to set up their own lesson, pause the lesson for all viewers, point out features during the tour, and see what the user is viewing on their screens. Google Expeditions is not the only app that has the dual function of both a VR and AR experience, other apps such as MERGE Edu and CoSpaces have the function of serving both reality platforms. One may wonder, why have dual modes, what is the difference between VR and AR. Augmented Reality, unlike Virtual Reality, uses the devices camera to allow the user to see the real world and a digital image or video. AR takes your view of the real world and adds digital images or information on top of it. Augmented Reality does use the devices camera and often uses a trigger image or target. There are lots of readily available lessons for implementing AR in the classroom. Mini verse for Merge Cubes and Google Expeditions are two of the top rated apps. Mixed Reality is a combination of VR and AR. It allows the user to see the real world like AR while also seeing believable virtual objects like VR and then anchors those objects in real space. One way to experience this in your own setting is by searching the word tiger on your smart device. Try now and see if you can view a tiger in your own classroom! 

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