VR/Augmented Reality Apps for the Class…or for fun!

Google Expeditions:

Website           App

Google has put together a project called Expeditions Pioneer that helps teachers create full field trip experiences, including roles such as a guide and student.

Another amazing thing about Google Cardboard: as long as you already have a smart phone, the rest of the device is as cheap as 15 bucks!  These can go up to $120, but the $15 work just as well.  I personally have the device by Viewmaster (roughly $30) and I like it a lot.

  1. Usability: How easy is the application to use for teachers? Students?
    • Google Cardboard itself is the easier VR solution I have used so far.  Google has specifically geared it towards the EdTech movement, with simple controls, easy setup, and as many eye pieces as you can imagine.  The idea of actually building the VR kit in class out of cardboard and a few lenses is a great learning experience for the students as well.
  2. Motivation: What motivate teachers to use the app for teaching? Students for learning?
    • By being able to build the kit yourself, teachers can use Expeditions as a multi-learning unit.  Once the kit is built, there are many expeditions for teachers and students to “visit”.  Being able to tie an expedition into history, science, and math, gives teachers a plethora of uses.
    • Students will love the idea of immersion into a subject.  Instead of reading a book about the pyramids of Egypt, they can go on a virtual tour and “experience” the pyramids for themselves.  They would also be able to continue the learning process at home (as long as they or a parent have a phone and a $15 dollar Cardboard kit.
  3. Pros: What are the benefits of using this app? (for teachers? for students?)
    • Cheap: as long as you already have a smart phone, the rest of the device is as cheap as 15 bucks!  These can go up to $120, but the $15 work just as well.  I personally have the device by Viewmaster (roughly $30) and I like it a lot.
    • Easy to purchase in bulk.  Google and Best Buy sell Expedition kits for classes. These come with WIFI enabled phones, headsets, and learning kits
  4. Cons: What are the downsides or limitations of using this app?
    • No IOS version yet
    • Technology moves fast.  Google has already released a new VR solution.

 

 

New York Times VR:

Website              App

Using the Google Cardboard setup, students are able to interact with journalism stories and learn about subjects in an interactive and immersive environment.

  1. Usability: How easy is the application to use for teachers? Students?
    • Like Google Expeditions, the New York Times VR app uses Google Cardboard as a gateway into the experience.  It is incredibly easy to setup and start a story.  By simply putting on the Google Cardboard, selecting the app, then selecting a story, you can jump right in.  Interacting within the app is intuitive for all ages.  Without an remotes, you simply move your head around and focus on an area to select various options.
  2. Motivation: What motivate teachers to use the app for teaching? Students for learning?
    • For a Journalism or Mass Communication class, this would help students understand the idea of crafting a story, focusing on individuals to personalize a story, and how to film in a captivating manner.  As Mass Comm and Journalism teacher, I would use this as an example of a well-crafted story and production.
    • Students can view these on their own time and always refer to them as examples.  It also gives in depth coverage of stories that you may not pay attention to if they were standard video and copy.
  3. Pros: What are the benefits of using this app? (for teachers? for students?)
    • As with the Expedition app, this is cheap: as long as you already have a smart phone, the rest of the device is as cheap as 15 bucks!  These can go up to $120, but the $15 work just as well.  I personally have the device by Viewmaster (roughly $30) and I like it a lot.
    • New York Times actually included a free Google Cardboard kit with issues of the New York Times as well.
    • Great starter into the world of VR journalism.
  4. Cons: What are the downsides or limitations of using this app?
    • NY Times has not produced enough content for continuous use.

 

 

 

 

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