I recently purchased a set of virtual reality goggles for my classroom and they have been an awesome addition to create authentic learning experiences. I am so stoked to share with you what I have learned and how you can implement your own VR classroom experience.
The motivation behind exploring virtual reality in my classroom came from a few places.
Firstly, I am always looking for ways to spice up learning in my classroom, I love trying new things and I love bringing different ways of learning to my students. Secondly, I knew that creating virtual experiences for my students would make learning more authentic and the ‘why’ would visible. And lastly and most importantly, I knew that virtual reality has the ability to get to all learners. Regardless of language ability, cognitive levels, strengths or weaknesses, all of my students would have the potential to be involved in the same world together- and that potential was awesome.
Here are five steps that you can take to implement VR in your classroom!
Step 1: Get the necessary tools!
I decided to buy the VR BOX 2.0 Virtual Reality 3D Glasses because I did not want a cardboard version that could get mangled and broken easily and they had a good rating on Amazon (pretty simple lol.)
From my experience, I would highly recommend this brand because they are durable, have adjustable lenses and straps for difference head shapes/ eye types and are easy to use.
The only down side, is that you need a device (either a smart phone, or touch iPod) to go on the inside of the goggles. This could be a challenge for students who don’t have a device. In this case, I just split the class in half and paired students with ones who had a device, or allowed them to borrow my own.
Step 2: Get the APP or use YouTube!
The first time we used the goggles I truthfully had no idea how to use them. I essentially gave them to the students and had a “let’s figure this out together” class. It was awesome to see them take initiative and problem solve to figure it out.
Essentially this is what we discovered.
In order to have the entire 360 feeling of virtual reality (with the screen moving with you as you move and walk) you need one of two things on your device; an app, or YouTube.
If you want to use an APP, there are a ton of awesome 360 VR options. One that my students liked was called VR travel because there were lots of options for students to be able to travel to different places. On this APP there were also difference experiences like a roller coaster that students like to see.
If downloading an APP is not an option you can use YouTube. This was actually my preferred method because you could better control the videos that students watched and it was easy for all the students to get it on their devices.
All you do is search a place with virtual reality or VR in the title (for example: Paris VR/ Paris Virtual Reality) and a whole list of video options will come up. Then in order for it to become VR, you need to click the goggles symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the video so that is it split screen and you are good to go!
Step 3: Link it to core subject content to create experiences surrounding objectives!
So many amazing companies have come up with incredible content to link to objectives in your classroom from Social Studies, to Science, to second language learning-its great!
Some awesome sites to check out for curricular links to VR:
I am looking forward to using this in my Social class when learning about Japan!
For now, it has served an awesome purpose in my Travel and Culture class!
Step 4: Allow for exploration!
Some of my favorite moments using the virtual reality in my classroom as come allowing them to do their own thing. I have loved giving students a combination of tasks from myself and an element of self exploration so that they are allowed to experience things and places that are exciting for them.
Step 5: Allow them to team up and use collaboration!
My students LOVE to work together. This is an awesome way to build positive relationships and promote teamwork in your classroom.
Like I mentioned above, students may need to pair up out of necessity of using a device for the VR goggles; however, I also found it useful to pair them up together and allow them to go on quests and discoveries as a team. It allowed for some guided learning but required them to collaborate and have fun together.
VR has been an amazing addition to learning in my classroom. The kids are super excited about it and I am enjoying watching them explore new worlds and experiences.
I look forward to hearing about your virtual reality experiences!