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Next Level Nearpod VR Integration

As I write this, I'm sitting in Florida at the Nearpod #PioNearSummit - a gathering of edtech enthusiasts and Nearpod evangelists from across the globe. I want to say a HUGE thank you to the Nearpod team for inviting me to be a part of this amazing event (and getting me back in America for the first time in 31 years!)

As a part of the event, I was asked to deliver a session on the use of VR within Nearpod. I was one of the original clutch of authors that produced Nearpod's first VR-enriched content back in 2015 (read more about those lessons here) under their Virtual Field Trips banner.

For this event with some of the most experienced Nearpod users in the world, I wanted to deliver something fresh, something new and something exciting. The session I put together alongside Adam Franklin from Nearpod focused on two things:

1. the new VR sub-brands from Nearpod (including their new multi-part experiences)

2. integrating webVR content within a Nearpod session.

Below you can find an embedded copy of the actual presentation I delivered. It's set to Nearpod's student-paced mode so you can work through it at your own pace. Below the presentation you can find some additional details from me about the content.

As I stated above, there were two ares that I focused on under the title of Next Level VR Integration with Nearpod:

Nearpod VR sub-brands

So the "basic" VR sessions have been split into three categories:

Field Trips - the classic virtual tour experiences. The volume of VR field trips now available within Nearpod is staggering. You'll find field trips to every corner of the globe!

Ignite - short sessions that focus not so much on a location as an experience or an area of learning. Examples include sessions that explore science concepts, social studies ideas or mathematics. These are short sessions that can be used as a hook at the start of a topic but could just as easily form a truly engaging homework task.

College Tours - tours of colleges and universities that can help students make one of the most important decisions of their lives. It's a similar concept to that already developed by YouVisit but in my opinion this is a far better experience for students since the 360 content is framed in a much more meaningful way by the rest of the presentation. You could make an awesome display board (or handout) with QR code links to a range of college tours (I'm thinking a map with the QR codes placed where the colleges )

Explorations - for me the most exciting new experiences being produced by Nearpod are the Explorations. These are multi-part VR experiences that include embedded content and links to other scenes (in a similar way to other VR platforms likes of Thinglink and InstaVR.) I think that this nascent category will soon become the new standard for Nearpod VR.

Integrating WebVR Content

Right now, not all webVR content will work within a Nearpod session. That being said, after some research I identified a couple of stellar examples - two of which were included in the presentation and one more which I left off (I will explain why below.)

Access Mars - I've mentioned this awesome example of webVR from Google and NASA before and I was delighted to find that it worked directly within Nearpod. As the author of Nearpod's original Mars virtual field trip lesson, I can say with certainty that this experience would be an amazing addition to that lesson. (NB it's a good thing that you can edit any lessons you download from the Nearpod Store - meaning you can ad it!)

HistoryView VR - one of the best VR tools available to educators worldwide, this free platform uses amazing 3D scans of historical locations to create virtual tours that you can actually move around in. These work brilliantly within Nearpod and allow students to explore locations with greater autonomy.

Edorble WebVR - so this was the one I ended up leaving out of my presentation - which was a shame as I originally planned for it to be the big climax! Let me clarify - the Edorble WebVR app DOES work within Nearpod but this social, multi-user experience is somewhat untested and I wasn't sure how many users would be able to enter the same space simultaneously. In the end I spoke with Gabe from Edorble and we decided that it may be best to hold off for a future build of Edorble.

Still - it's definitely something you should check out!

#Nearpod #VR

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