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VR Apps for the Classroom


As promised, this is the third list of edtech apps that you can use in your classroom. This week we will look at six VR apps; Solar System VR, Discovery VR, NYT VR, Sites in VR, YouVisit VR and Unimersiv. While each app has a place in the classroom, it is important to remember that the apps should be used alongside other activities in order to enhance learning and the content, they should not replace it. If you only have a few student devices and virtual reality headsets and not a class set, you could set up a station activity with have a few devices ready to play the app. This is a great way to integrate VR (and AR) into the classroom, while also having other activities/stations that focus on reading, writing, analysis and discussions for students.

Below is an overview of each app, however, if you are interested in seeing them in action, you can enroll in our free AR/VR in Education course here. You can also download this information as a PDF here.

Solar System VR

Cost: Free

Platform: Android, iOs

Creator: One Pixel Soft

Pros

  • Immersive experience

  • No set up

  • Easy to understand and follow

Cons

  • Cannot pause the video

  • Planets are not introduced in order

Bottom Line

  • This is a great introductory VR video on the solar system for students

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

Solar System VR is a great app for students learning about the solar system. Once you open the app, you will need to place your phone in a VR headset, plug in earphones if you wish, sit back, and relax. Since the video plays as soon as you open the app, there is no set up, which makes it extremely accessible for even younger students.

IS IT GOOD FOR LEARNING?

Yes, although the app does not go in depth about each planet, it is a good introductory video for students. There are only two issues with the app is that could impact learning; 1 - that you cannot pause the video and 2 - that the planets are not introduced in order (starting with Mercury, moving out).

HOW CAN TEACHERS USE IT?

Teachers can use Solar System VR as an introductory video to the solar system. It is a great way to give a brief overview of each planet, along with a visual representation of what each looks like.

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Discovery VR

Cost: Free

Platform: Android, iOs

Creator: Discovery

Pros

  • Immersive experience

  • Can change between normal and VR mode

  • Variety of videos

Cons

  • Files are large and you need a good connection to play

Bottom Line

  • If you are capable of playing the video without it buffering, it is a great resource.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

Discovery VR is a great app for students to watch videos on a variety of topics in an immersive setting. The videos are divided into “series,” with each series containing multiple videos.

IS IT GOOD FOR LEARNING?

Yes, however, the video files are large, and unless you have a strong signal and connection, the video will buffer and pause quite often. Being able to switch between VR and normal mode is a great option for students who do not want to wear the VR headset, but still use the app.

HOW CAN TEACHERS USE IT?

Teachers can use the videos as an introductory lesson to a topic, or they can create a station activity where a few devices are setup to play the video(s) as the students rotate through the stations.

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NYT VR

Cost: Free

Platform: Android, iOs

Creator: New York Times

Pros

  • Immersive experience

  • Can change between normal and VR mode

  • Variety of videos - new videos are always being added

Cons

  • Files are large and you need a good connection to play

Bottom Line

  • If you are capable of playing the video without it buffering, it is a great resource.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

NYT VR is a great app for students to watch videos on a variety of topics in an immersive setting. New videos are always being added, so no matter how many times you use the app, there is always something new.

IS IT GOOD FOR LEARNING?

Yes, however, the video files are large, and unless you have a strong signal and connection, the video will buffer and pause quite often. However, you can download the video and then play it later if needed. Being able to switch between VR and normal mode is a great option for students who do not want to wear the VR headset, but still use the app.

HOW CAN TEACHERS USE IT?

Teachers can use the videos as an introductory lesson to a topic, or they can create a station activity where a few devices are setup to play the video(s) as the students rotate through the stations. They can also have students complete current events projects/stay up to date on the news by watching one video every night or week.

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Sites in VR

Cost: Free

Platform: Android, iOs

Creator: Ercan GiGi

Pros

  • Immersive experience

  • Can change between normal and VR mode

  • Several cities/countries available

Cons

  • There is not a “leader” mode

Bottom Line

  • This is a great app for students to visit a variety of locations throughout the world.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

Sites in VR is a great app for students to visit a variety of places throughout the world. Students can use the app in either VR or normal mode, and if in VR mode, their headset does not need to have a button. Students can go on their own virtual field trips to a variety of cities and countries and view locations from mosques to the pyramids.

IS IT GOOD FOR LEARNING?

Yes, this is a great app for a history class learning about different cultures and places in the world. Students will need to be able to navigate the app and understand which city/country/location they need to visit independently since there is not a leader mode.

HOW CAN TEACHERS USE IT?

Teachers can use the app to take the students on virtual field trips throughout the world. As a project, students could act like tour guides and complete research on a specific city or location in order to create their own brochures and documents.

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YouVisit VR

Cost: Free

Platform: Android, iOs

Creator: YouVisit LLC

Pros

  • Immersive experience

  • Interactive

  • Toggle between VR and normal mode

Cons

  • Large files can cause a lag and buffering

  • Not an extensive library

Bottom Line

  • Good app for virtual experiences and to feel like you have some control over the experience, however, the lag time and pausing causes an issue.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

YouVisit VR is a good app for students to watch videos on a variety of topics in an immersive setting. Students will choose an experience, and then enter a video or 360 image. In the image/video are focus points, and when they are looked at, additional information is revealed, and if applicable, you can click through to another image/video.

IS IT GOOD FOR LEARNING?

Yes, however, the video files are large, and unless you have a strong signal and connection, the video will buffer and pause quite often. It would function well as a supplement to a lesson, but since the video library is not extensive and the experiences pause frequently, it is not always reliable.

HOW CAN TEACHERS USE IT?

When YouVisit VR was first released, anyone could sign up to create experiences. This would have been great for teachers because they could create their own experiences, virtual tours and even lessons in a VR setting. However, they have since gotten rid of that feature. Right now users can only access what is on the app, but stay tuned and check in with their website to see when you will be able to create your own experiences again.

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Unimersiv

Cost: Free

Platform: Android, iOs

Creator: Unimersiv

Pros

  • Immersive experiences

  • New content being added

  • Variety of experiences

Cons

  • Must be in VR mode

  • Must have a headset with a button

Bottom Line

  • Great app with a variety of options for immersive experiences.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

Unimersiv is a new VR education platform that offers a variety of experiences, classes and videos. Users have the option of using the free software or purchasing the premium subscription to access additional content. Once logged in, users can choose between experiences, VR courses or videos.

IS IT GOOD FOR LEARNING?

Yes, this is a great app for learning because the user can watch a video to visit and learn about places they would never be able to physically visit (i.e. human brain).

HOW CAN TEACHERS USE IT?

Teachers can use the videos as an introductory lesson to a topic, or they can create a station activity where a few devices are setup to play the experience as the students rotate through the stations. Unimersv is working on expanding their library, so check the app and their website frequently to stay up to date with their latest news.

Do you have a website or app that you think should be included in next week's blog? Are you interested in writing a blog post for us? Message us at: info@aquilaeducation.com

#virtualrealityineducation #GoogleExpeditions #vrlessons #vrkits #instructionaltechnology #EdTech #virtualreality

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