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Top 5 tips for using the HTC Vive in your classroom

The HTC Vive offers unparalleled educational VR experiences in the classroom. There are a few things you need to consider to run the Vive system in your classroom though. Here is my list of the things you need to consider:

The power of your PC

This is definitely something that people don't always take into account. At present, to run a high-end VR system like the Vive, a pretty powerful computer with a dedicated high-level graphics card is a necessity. When I got my Vive, I also bought an Acer Predator laptop - which cost more than twice what the Vive cost me!

Many laptops are now stamped with a VR Ready badge to show that they are powerful enough to run something like the Vive. Click here to visit the Vive page that lists the required specs and allows you to test your current PC. It may be possible for you to upgrade your current PC rather than purchase a new one.

It's also worth noting that whilst the Vive is not currently supported on Mac, at the recent Apple WWDC event an announcement was made that the next generation of Macs will be VR ready. They even ran a Vive demo live on stage!

Space requirements

Though you can enjoy the Vive as a standing experience, the real power of the system comes from room-scale.

I've found two or three large spaces at our schools that can readily be set up for room scale experiences. Remember it doesn't have to be a huge space - even a couple of metres squared will do. You likely won't be wall mounting the base stations but I have had no trouble with tracking just using tow camera tripods set at about 7 feet high.

This Vive tutorial video provides a great run-through of setting up for room scale:

Using the HMD with multiple people

Hygiene can be a concern when sharing a headset with a large group of people. There are two options to combat this really.

1. Replace the foam insert regularly. There are a wide range of replacement foam inserts available, made from varying materials and at varying price points. Some are larger and washable.

2. Invest in some disposable hygienic covers that stick over the actual foam insert and can be disposed after use.

Another thing to consider are the earphones. The basic buds that come with the Vive tend to fall out but it would also be more hygienic to use can earphones with larger groups.

Joining Viveport and Steam

Viveport and Steam are where you will download VR apps from. Access to Viveport with come naturally as you set up your Vive. From here you can access and download a wealth of application.

You will probably want to access the VR content available through Steam as well though and I have found that people can have trouble with this. Click the Steam logo below to download my guide to joining and downloading apps from Steam.

(NB this is from my CPD in VR section and is specific to Engage but the process is the same for any other apps.)

Finding educational content

Steam offers a lot more than just VR content for the Vive so you need to know how to navigate the Store. Click on Games in the top menu and then Virtual Reality to access the VR wing.

From here you can begin to explore. You can also filter content to show just applications that work on the HTC Vive using the menu on the right of the screen:

After doing this you can select to search using the Education tag:

Much like with the iOS App Store, not all of the content which could be of use to you and your students will be tagged as "education" on Steam. Be sure to explore other sections to find content which could transform learning in your classroom.


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