Virtual Reality

What is VR?

Virtual reality technology creates an immersive computer-generated simulation viewed using a cardboard viewer and a cell phone or a high-end VR headset and computer.

As you browse these resources, reflect on the following questions:

  • How might I use VR to create engaging learning experiences for my students?
  • How might my students use VR to demonstrate their learning?

VR Equipment

Cardboard Viewers

There are many cardboard viewers (like the Google Cardboard) out there on the market. You can:

This last one is a great introduction to optics in the Physics curriculum!

High-End VR Headsets

With the Digital Action Plan, adult ed centres have had the opportunity to purchase some high-end virtual reality headsets, including the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and the Acer Windows Mixed Reality. If that’s the case in your centre, or if you’re looking to invest in such a tool, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Cost → These headsets take a very powerful (and expensive) computer to function optimally. Make sure to check the company website for full compatibility specifications and factor these into your budget when making this purchase.
  • Installation → With board restrictions on computers, you will need the help of your IT department with the dowloading and installation of the required software. You will also need a decently-sized space (2 m by 1.5 m or 6 ft 6 in by 5 ft) to set up your virtual reality environment.
  • Safety → Lastly, be aware that these devices can cause seizures and nausea. They should not be used with minors, pregnant women, those under the influence of drugs/alcohol, or those with serious medical conditions.

Exploring VR

This app has tons pre-created augmented reality tours.

Students can explore them at their own pace on their devices or you give a guided tour to your class. (Note that you cannot guide the tour with participants on a public wifi network as a private shared connection is needed.)

YouTube has tons of free virtual reality content! Search “360 video” in your YouTube app and click the little cardboard viewer icon in the bottom right to see them in virtual reality.

Here is one example from Canadian history.

This app has some excellent examples of VR storytelling, such as short animated films and documentaries.

This app allows students to practice their public speaking skills in a variety of virtual environments. They can even upload their own slides!

Creating VR

Using a computer, users can create their own interactive VR experiences using Google Street View or their own 360 images. These can then be viewed and shared using the Google Expeditions app.

This tools is similar to Google Tour Creator, but also allows the use of 360 videos at a cost of 35$/year.

(This short guide, written by Bob Sacha, Matt MacVey and Guglielmo Mattioli, details some tips to keep in mind when filming with a 360 camera.)

This app and creation platform allow the user to create cool interactive VR content using 3D modelling and block programming, then share it with others.