I have written a bit about VR in the past HERE, but I wanted to quickly touch on another feature of VR. Field Trips.
To be honest, the idea of a digital field trip sounds fairly lame at first. Why not just huddle into a bus and drive down to the farm to learn about where eggs come from? Good point! And for that field trip I would most definitely recommend skipping the VR experience and getting the bus ready. But what about when you want to take your students to explore the coral reefs, or Machu Picchu, or Antarctica, or how about THE SURFACE OF MARS! I can’t be certain, but I am fairly sure the bus won’t get you to these locations (unless of course you happen to be Ms. Frizzle). Situations like this are where Google Cardboard comes into play. Being able to virtually visit a location, explore that location, and receive updated information and facts creates an interactive and memorable learning space. These virtual experience, while not as potent as visiting the location, help lift the information from pages and into our senses.
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.