In the second part of my article on immersive technology and distance learning (read pt1 here) I want to share my top 10 suggestions for AR/VR/360° resources which can still be harnessed effectively during distance learning.
These are all free to access and have scope to be harnessed across the whole curriculum. I hope you find something useful that you can use to enrich the remote learning experiences you are delivering to your students. They are also broadly device agnostic or at least do not rely on students having access to hardware like high-end VR headsets.
There’s no denying the fact that there’s heaps of great educational 360° videos on YouTube which students can access on any device. You may remember that last year I actually curated over 1000 of these into subject-specific playlists on my channel – which makes it a great way to streamline your hunt for relevant clips. Click here to find them.
I’ve written about this AR platform here on VirtualiTeach before and in all the time since the launch of Apple’s ARkit tech, Jigspace really have outdone themselves – even launching their awesome parallel Jig Workshop app for designing your own experiences. To me, this is what an educational AR app should strive to be – more than just models.
To top it off, the Jig-crew have even added a neat Coronavirus jig that students can interact with.
Find out more about Jisgpace via https://jig.space
Another app I’ve covered here on the site before and one that affords both AR and VR creation through its excellent entry-level 3D design platform. The basic plan is free and CoSpaces are offering Pro licenses for free throughout school closures too which is awesome. One of the best things about using this for distance learning though is the fact that when you set a task for your class, you get a live tiled view of what they are doing!
Find out more about CoSpaces Edu via https://cospaces.io/edu/
You can also read my article on 10 reasons to use CoSpaces Edu with students here.
Google Tour Creator
I was tempted to add Google Expeditions to the list here but since you’d be limited to just having students run solo tours, why not have them build the tours themselves? Tour Creator lets students sew together 360° images of their own or ones from Google Street View and the completed tours can be uploaded to Poly – so teachers and peers can even access them and potentially even assess them! So much potential and it could be a great way to share more about where you and your students are based with others around the world facing the same challenges right now.
Learn more about Google Tour Creator here: https://arvr.google.com/tourcreator
Portals: Learning with AR
With students stuck indoors around the clock right now, it’s a great opportunity to use a portal app to let them use AR to transport themselves somewhere new. Of all the AR portal apps out there, I still recommend this one over most others as it’s the only one with a dedicated education-theme and includes portals to some really interesting worlds. Use it as a stimulus for creative writing and your students will absolutely love it.
You can see it in action (along with a couple of other portal apps) in this video I recorded last year.
Download the Portals AR app on iOS here.
Another platform that I’m a long-time fan of and one that I’ve mentioned here on the site numerous times. Within has a brilliant library of thought-provoking 360° films which can be viewed on any device. Superb for use with older students as a means to engage them with a theme or topic. I actually put some lesson plans together a couple of years ago for some of the Within experiences which you can find here.
Learn more about Within via www.with.in
As long as your students have access to a printer, Quiver offers a lot of great free AR colouring sheets and doesn’t require the newest of mobile devices to use them with. In fact I’ve been using Quiver as far back as 2014 (when it was still called ColAR) with some old Gen.2 iPads. Whilst the education content isn’t free, there are several free sheets which can be used with students including:
- The Education Starter pack includes the volcano, Pi, the Earth, a flag and both animal and plant cells!
- The Dot Day page – can be used to design planets, badges, logos and more
- The Starbucks cup – could be used as a part of a lesson on marketing
- The Scarlet Macaw from Intertwined Conservation
- The Butterfly life-cycle page from California State Parks
- The Chick-fil-A Colour crafters packs
Access Quiver app and pages downloads via www.quivervision.com
Sketchfab has long been the world’s largest repository of 3d models and can be accessed via the web as well as its free mobile apps. Whilst you would have to pay to download and use a lot of the models in your own projects, you can view pretty much everything for free. There is also the option to view the content in both VR (mobile and webVR) and AR (mobile). Whilst the content stored here is quite broad, a quick search will generally turn up models that relate to most subject areas be it history, science or geography. Also, in the last couple of years, more and more museums have started to 3D scan their collections of artefacts and upload them to Sketchfab.
This page here curates all of the various museum collections together including some amazing content from The British Museum, the Science Museums Group, The Natural History Museum and many, many more.
I’ve been using Nearpod as a part of remote training sessions I’ve been facilitating over the last few weeks and in fact my company name (Digital Inception) even comes from a remote training session Luke Rees and I delivered to USC back in 2013. Nearpod has a vast library of virtual field trips now including content linked to pretty much every subject area. They’ve also made student-paced mode open to all account levels now meaning that you can deploy an interactive Nearpod presentation with embedded 360° field trips) without the need to deliver it live. A definite must for engaging remote learning experiences!
Access Nearpod and learn more via www.nearpod.com
You can also read this article I wrote about the expansion to Nearpod's virtual field trip offering a couple of years back.
It would be remiss of me not to include Engage on this list despite my Back to the Future analogy earlier. Engage (i.e. the platform I use for my #CPDinVR) events has already shown its amazing potential during these unique times with HTC Vive recently hosting its entire VEC Conference inside the platform.
As mentioned above, Engage is one of the social VR platforms that does afford 2D access via a PC, meaning that students with a VR headset can still join sessions within a virtual classroom – or even on Mars! Within Engage a teacher can incorporate video, 360° media, 3D models and more to create a uniquely rich and exciting learning space. They can even record their lesson spatially and allow students who can’t access a live lesson to step back into the full 3D recording as if they were there!
Find out more and download Engage for your device via https://engagevr.io