Augmented Reality – Virtual Reality? How can I use these to enhance and extend student learning?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that is “immersive” – in other words, it requires your complete focus on content that is most often found using a headset of some type (Google Cardboard, Samsung’s GearVR, and View-Master VR are some of the most popular ones.) VR changes the way we watch and interact with content. YouTube now has a Virtual Reality Channel with more content being added every day – not all of it “school appropriate”, however. Simply pull up one of the videos on your SmartPhone, insert it into your VR headset of choice, and enjoy! Luke Symonds, CAM High School social studies teacher from Iowa, had his students experience the Revolutionary War using Google Cardboard viewers and students’ phones and earbuds. Thanks to Google Expeditions, many students have been able to go on Virtual Field Trips to places they never could visit otherwise!
Augmented Reality (AR) enhances reality and the “real world” rather than taking us out of it. AR adds a layer of information (text, images, video, 3D) to something that is tangible and real. This tangible thing is usually called a target and could be a photo in a magazine or a photo that you’ve taken, student artwork or other creations, a world landmark, the sky or even a package of Oreos!!
There are many AR apps available in the education realm: Aurasma, StarWalk 2, Anatomy 4D, Start Chart, Google Translate, Google SkyMap, AR Flashcards, Spacecraft 3D, Osmo (play beyond the screen of an iPad), and more! Here is a chart with links to many educational AR apps available – most are free.
I see the future of AR and VR for enhancing educational experiences for students growing exponentially! You and your students don’t have to wait – the future is now!!