Virtual Reality – an education. Part 1

Some of the most popular projects on Rocket Fund are those which raise funds to introduce virtual reality into the classroom. We thought it might be interesting to spend some time taking a look at the world of VR in education, to see what products are out there, ideas on how to use them as well as feedback from teachers and students who have used them in their classroom recently.

To kick things off, we’ve asked Jamie Feltham of Upload Vr to give us a bit of an introduction to VR experiences that have some educational value and here is his roundup of the top 5.

5 Apps That Show What VR Can Do For Education

People love to say that VR is the future of education. But, for all the hype, where are the apps that actually prove this? Well, believe it or not, they’re out there, even if the platforms and ecosystems to properly support them aren’t quite there yet. Below I’ve listed some of my top picks for VR apps and services available now that demonstrate the power of this amazing new technology.

Hold The World

Ever wanted to meet Sir David Attenborough? Haven’t we all? This new Oculus Rift app might not get you an in-person meeting with the broadcasting legend, but it’s certainly the next best thing. Attenborough’s been brought to digital life with photorealism in this amazing tour of some of the most prized exhibits of London’s Natural History Museum. Hundreds of cameras have been employed to make him look every bit as lifelike in VR.

You sit opposite the man himself as he talks over various subjects that you can pick up and inspect in amazing detail. Not only that, but you can enlarge giant skeletons and more, eventually watching them come to life as Attenborough points out areas of interest and fills you in with his unparalleled knowledge. It really is an amazing experience. Find out more here

Google Expeditions

As for VR actually inside the classroom? Google’s already there. Google Expeditions is an educational platform that utilises the company’s exhaustive library of panoramic images and videos that take students on virtual field trips using its simple Cardboard VR viewer, which operates via a smartphone.

With a teacher leading the class via tablet, kids are able to explore Aztec temples, Everest’s peak and much more. Information about each location can be found in every experience, ensuring that kids learn through experience rather than textbooks. There’s also an excellent augmented reality (AR) version of the app that lets you explore 3D models of human organs and more. Find out more here

Operation Apex

Documentaries like Blue Planet do a remarkable job at charting the activities of our vast oceans, but, outside of an incredibly expensive diving trip, only VR can actually bring you there. Operation Apex is a great example of gamifying education, putting you on the hunt for a strange anomaly in the ocean’s food chain that will have you meeting an incredible amount of aquatic life up close and personal.

It’s the actions and immersion that make this a standout piece. You need to learn what types of food fish like to eat and then find and scan that grub in order to feed it to them. More importantly, though, the game carries an important environmental message and a striking moment that shows you why empathy can be just as powerful a tool for education as it can any other type of VR experience. Find out more here

Titanic VR

Of course, VR can also be used as something of a time machine, and that’s exactly what Titantic VR does. There are two parts to this brilliant app. The first is a story-driven adventure in which you explore the wreck of the enormous vessel, learning about its various sections and machinations as well as taking part in the restoration processes that go into preserving and learning more about the Titanic.

The second uses eye-witness accounts to reimagine the fateful day of the crash, huddling you up against desperate passengers in a mad scramble for survival. It’s a history lesson come to life and is filled with memorable moments. See also the same company’s take on the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Find out more here

Titans of Space 2.0

Perhaps the best place in VR to take a trip of our solar system. This sends you on a fantastical trip, soaring over planets and orbiting around the sun, complete with plenty of facts about the inhabitants of the milky way as you explore.

There’s a lot of space exploration available in VR already but Titans of Space stands out from the pack with its powerful sense of immersion and accessible structure.

Find out more here

If you are interested in bringing VR to the classroom, check out our VR-focused template projects here, here or here and raise the funds to bring VR into your classroom through Rocket Fund!