Because I Say So











{May 22, 2017}   Thing 38: Augmented & Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is technology in which you supplement something in the real world, for example pointing your smartphone at something and additional information will appear on your screen.  This could be an image like when playing the Pokémon Go game, related titles when pointing at a particular book in a library, or seeing a video containing a mini lesson when pointing at a certain location.  AR has many uses from the business world to recreation to education.  Aurasma is one such AR app that is fairly well-known and is an easy tool for introducing AR into the classroom.

Virtual Reality is a step above this.  I was lucky to attend a Google camp where all the participants received a Google Cardboard viewer in our welcome kit!  At the time, most of us had no idea what it was. The instructors had to keep telling everyone to not throw it out because we’d hear more about it soon enough.  I downloaded something called “Sisters” which allowed me to “experience” sitting by myself in a room during a storm and ended with a pretty good scare involving a doll. It felt almost real and was a very cool introduction to Virtual Reality (I love scary movies)!

So how could Virtual Reality be used in a classroom?  There are so many apps available now with educational content.  I looked at a few of the suggestions and my favorite is probably Timelooper.  Imagine a classroom of students wearing Google Cardboard and instead of just learning about landmarks in New York City, they can feel like they’re on the Empire State Building while it is being built in 1931!  Or on a ship with Polish immigrants in 1919 and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time!  If you don’t own Google Cardboard or another VR headset, you can still experience Timelooper with just your phone.  I only wish you could “visit” all their experiences without having to actually be in the area.  I am able to access some of the New York content, but it would be great, for example, if you could celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall from your classroom in the U.S.  Not all of their content is free, but a fair amount is. Timelooper’s site does say that new locations are being added all the time, and I am certain other VR experiences like theirs will become available for classroom use too!

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I haven’t had a chance to play with TimeLooper. Need to take a look at it. Thanks for suggesting it.



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