Making Virtual Reality a Possibility in your Classroom
I am always looking for ideas for the classroom. I have been working with Google Cardboard, and I see a lot of potential for using it in the classroom. Google Cardboard is a virtual reality device kit that users assembles themselves. The device consists of a section of cardboard that is cut and marked for assembly, a set of lenses, a magnet, and adhesive and velcro to hold it together. The kits can be purchased on Amazon and range from around $10 up to around $50. There are also much more elaborate and expensive kits.
For Cardboard to work, the smartphone app projects two images to give a 3D effect when viewed through the goggles. However, all the ideas discussed in this post can also be viewed with a smartphone by itself. The only difference is the viewer will see one big image instead of the binocular view through the goggles. These tools are interactive so users can look around as if they are in the scene rather than only having the view of one camera like in conventional videos. I used the Google Cardboard from D-Scope for these activities. You can order it for $15.99 on Amazon.They work great and are reasonably priced. Students liked using them and were amazed by the images produced.
Here are some resources and ideas for using Google Goggles in the classroom:
- Google Street View: Google Street View allows users to view 360° pictures from around the world. This allows viewers to look at scenes from around the world including underwater shots. Students can go on virtual field trips of cities, ancient ruins, and even underwater scenes like the Great Barrier Reef. Users can also post pictures for others to view. I took pictures on trips to New Orleans and Ireland that I was later able to show to students. Here are links to pictures from Achill Island in County Mayo, a chapel in Dublin Castle, and the Trinity College campus.
- NY Times VR: I noticed this link on the New York Times because of a video tour of Pluto. These are full videos of topics like the Pluto video and a climbing session of One World Trade Center. These videos are engaging enough that my students were pointing at things while wearing the goggles. The really cool thing is that it is a video, but you can still look around like in the Street View photos.
- YouTube 360 Videos: These videos are like the NY Times VR, but with more. In fact, the NY Times videos can also be found in the collection. The reason I list this separately is that although there are more videos, many of them are not the best quality. Be sure to browse them with a more critical eye.
Do you use Google Goggles in your classroom? Please share your ideas in the comments below and follow me on Twitter @JoshuaElliott3 for more tips and ideas.