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Learn more about VR in Education

Buy a VR headset and add some content? Unfortunately, it's not quite that easy. However, it is absolutely worth the relatively small amount of effort needed to get it right. There is enough benefit to warrant the effort. Some of these resources are a bit dated, but still relevant. 

About me, and the resources below

I am not a gamer, nor a typical VR enthusiast. I don't play games in the VR, watch movies inside the environment, or so on. It's not my thing. I still have a hard time understanding the value of putting on a headset to give a virtual presentation. Face-to-face Zoom is good enough for me. So who am I?

I've been a teacher for over 3 decades. I have a pragmatic approach to education and seek value and efficacy. VR in education is unique and absolutely needed in every classroom in the world. A bold statement, but I will try to back that up. If done right, it is also attainable by all.

I am not associated with any company at the moment, so all information and ideas are purely mine. No agenda.

VR in Education - Basics
It's always a good idea to start with WHY. What is the reason for wanting to get your school or institution involved in VR in the first place? It's great to engage and excite learners, but why not use other means?
VR does afford certain opportunities that others don't. A distraction-free, safe (from peers) environment that encourages focused concentration is a great place to start.

VR in Education - Research
This is another overview of the benefits of VR in education, with some information about research into the efficacy of using virtual reality in the classroom.

Somewhere in Time (VR in Education)
Distraction-free is more than a quaint term used for learning with VR, but an extremely important part of the entire idea. Removing distractions encourages a deeper connection with the content, and gets students on their way toward higher order thinking skills. That commitment to an idea, as shown by Christopher Reeves' character in Somewhere in Time, is the difference between surface acknowledgement of a idea or concept, and a deeper, more powerful, belief.

Meta/Oculus/Facebook Articles

Oculus Go

Oculus Go (2019)

Oculus and Education, Pt 1

Oculus & Edu (2021)

Oculus and Education, Pt 2

Oculus & Edu, Pt 2 (2021)

Meta Quest and education - A cautionary tale (2021)
The Quest is a wonderful VR device, and great for gaming and entertainment. However, when it comes to education, it is a far different story. Although I have a Quest and am a fan of the device, I cannot find a way to sensibly use this in a meaningful way in a class, school or district. I am unable to justify such a purchase, for education. None of this information is new, but still very relevant.

Online vs offline
There is a huge benefit to having heavy VR content resident on devices. This is not simply a streaming issue, nor about your institution having WiFi access or not. This is about a practical, sensible means of getting the most out of your VR devices. If you only wish to do 1 task with the VR, then connectivity is not a big concern. However, if you wish to have a variety of things to do, by users of different ages and for different reasons, and don't wish to burden the overseers (teachers, managers) of this technology, then it's important to understand why "offline" can be a monumentally important point.

Offline-ish (ask, and listen carefully to the answer)
There are interesting gymnastics that some VR companies will do, when talking about being offline. When it means that some small part of their offering is located on the device, ready to go, but the rest of the library is cloud based, you will run into a managed content issue. At some point, someone needs to be responsible for moving that content onto the device. The IT staff? The teacher? The burden needs to rest with someone, so be careful, be mindful, and seek a sensible solution.

3 vs 6 dof (degrees of freedom)
The term dof refers to Degrees of Freedom, which is an indicator the level of movement afforded a VR (virtual reality) user. The greater the number means the more immersive the environment. Of course, most would consider that to mean it's "better." That's not always the case. For education, or other large deployments, 3 dof may be desirable over a 6 dof device.
Better is very much a relative term.

Ease of use
When educational content is resident on a VR headset, it greatly increases the usability and practicality of VR in education. The base of what you want to do over a semester or longer should reside on the device. Of course, adding things along the way should never be disallowed, but those moments mean that WiFi needs to be set up and high bandwidth needs to be very reliable. The far majority of schools in the world have WiFi... that's not at all the issue. VR content is particularly large, and sending that out is not an easy task.

Filmed vs created
There are two main ways to create VR content... you can film a scene or create a scene. Filming is cheap and easy, and photorealistic. But it is plagued by extremely high file sizes which either take up a lot of room on your device, or is very difficult to manage (download to a device from the cloud, for example).
Created content is more expensive to make, which is the downside, but can allow for more interactivity and a different (albeit less photorealistic) view of a scene.

Assembling Inclusion

Making STEM Content Accessible, Differentiating Instruction, and VR
Katie Nieves Licwinko:
My last question is how do you think Veative is making schools and classrooms more inclusive and accepting of all learners and all learners’ needs?
Dave Dolan:
Right now on that front, like I said, we're looking at a way of adding the controller to a chair and identifying that there are other devices out there that kind of look maybe fancier or very cool. But the problem is that they might have two controllers and they won’t be suitable for every student. Sometimes, you have to step back a bit and get to the core of what it is that you’re trying to do...


Transcript

Innovators Weekly, with Jane King
Veative Learn develops immersive technology solutions that have shown an incredible ability to educate, train, and solve real-world problems. This augments the performance of individuals and improves their grasp of technically-challenging concepts, enabling them to work better, smarter and safer. Chief Product Officer Dave Dolan joins me in this segment from 'Innovators'.

Language Learning in VR
Building confidence is an extremely important part of language learning. All language learners start from a place of vulnerability, and the very real expectation of being ridiculed or laughed at. That is a tough thing for anyone. But when a good teacher can provide a safe environment for learning, motivation is seriously affected.
VR is the next best thing. By nature, it is a safe, judgment-free environment in which a student can learn.

Education Disruption and VR
Education disruption began to happen in the mid to late 20th century, from teacher-centric instruction to a learner-based model. VR did not cause that disruption, but can support the ideals of such a shift in educational ideals.
Differentiated learning, in a distraction-free, safe environment is all possible via virtual reality, and is another powerful tool in the toolkit of teachers across the globe.

The VR Podcast

The Virtual Reality Podcast (June 21, 2019)
A deep dive into VR in education, and uses in the classroom. This podcast, hosted by Amanda Fox, Steven Sato, James McCrary, and Alex Chaucer tries to go beyond the headlines of virtual reality, and its implementation into schools. Though recorded in 2019, it is no less relevant today. 

What Would You Rather? (2021)
An animated look at what a VR classroom can end up looking like, and a suggestion as to how it should actually be. Don't get stuck in a mindset of how you "think it has to be." The VR is a uniquely personal connection with difficult ideas, and as such, should be used to facilitate that personal, distraction-free connection. There is little value in turning that into a class-wide experience, which then creates a wealth of issues for a teacher.

Metaverse and Education (2021)
There's much in the news about the metaverse and what that will mean to all of us. My only concern is about education and my thoughts are about the learning process. With respect to VR in education, it's a distraction-free, judgment-free environment, extremely conducive to focused concentration, deeper learning, and higher-order thinking skills. A dream environment for learning.

Does the metaverse move these ideals forward, or does it add a layer of distraction?

Why VR Could Help Treat Alzheimer's and Chronic Pain (2016)
Proponents of virtual reality say it can be an effective treatment for everything from chronic pain to Alzheimer's disease to arachnophobia to depression. Bloomberg Tech reporter Ian King visited Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles where one doctor is testing out the novel use of VR in a pilot program.

About Us

Sensible-VR has a singular mission of ensuring that you learn how to critically judge the various options in the market, and get the most out of your learning dollars. Our mission is to bring real educational value to schools. VR should be about connecting students with concepts, connecting teachers with students, and connecting districts with useful data and analytics. Hopefully, soon, this will all make sense

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