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Rise of the Virtual Phoenix

Virtualiteach is back!

Well to be fair it never went anywhere but it has sat dormant for almost six months now. Before I start sharing new AR and VR Education content again (regularly I promise) I wanted to just take a moment to explain the absence, the changes to the site, share a few brief insights into things that have happened in the world of immersive technology over the last few months and answer a few common questions I get asked.

Why did the site go dormant?

There are several reasons to be honest. After the passing of our dear friend Chris Long and the subsequent memorial service inside Engage, I found it hard for some time to even put a headset on. Chris’ death affected me deeply and was compounded by some other personal and health issues of my own.

On top of that, I had left JESS Dubai, where I had worked for the past 11 years, and set up my own consultancy business (Digital Inception) here in Dubai. For the first time ever I was my own boss but man was there a lot to do to get the business on its legs!

Then there was the issue with the actual site. I use Wix to make Virtualiteach and the whole infrastructure was built around custom feeds of the blog tool. Over the summer, Wix launched a new blog tool and stated that the old one would be retired. When I made the switch, I found that all my layouts, posts tags and more were compromised – essentially imploding the layout of the whole site. So it went on the backburner until I had some time to rebuild.

What’s new on the site?

Well go take a look! I’ve had a brand new logo designed for one (shout out to designer Anna_dxnr for the logo) and added a new Press section where I have curated all the various interviews and podcasts I’ve done about AR and VR. I’ve also updated the About Me page a fair bit. Those of you that have been visiting the site for a while will likely notice that some sections have gone. This is mainly a logistical thing – since the old posts tags no longer work, I would have had to manually tag EVERYTHING again to create the custom feeds for each page. I simply don’t have the time for that (for now at least) so I tagged the #CPDinVR posts and have let the ViveEdu and Guest Post sections fade to the background for now. All the articles are still here on the site and everything can be found/searched from the homepage.

Oh and there will be LOTS of new content – I’ve already added post-dated posts for articles from VR Focus I never linked here and I have a stack of new features either ready or half-written which I’ll be posting over the next few weeks.

What did you think about _______?

There have been some big releases in the world of immersive tech that I have tried/seen since the site went dormant. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll likely already know what I think about them, but for transparency –

Oculus Quest – Love it. Bought two. (First headset I’ve ever owned more than one of). Really like the casting to mobile devices feature. Wish there was more educational content for it though…

Oculus Link – not found a wire to test it yet but it sounds like a dream come true.

Vive Cosmos – Tried it. Liked it. It’s really light and comfortable! Can’t justify buying another PC VR headset right now though.

Magic Leap – Tried it. Thought it was ok. Can’t see that it’s worth the price tag though, especially not for educators.

Valve Index – Not tried it. Would love to. Anyone want to send me one? LOL

Hado AR headset – this is the augmented reality dodgeball headset that went viral about a year ago. Tried it at GITEX and it was super fun and surprisingly accurate. PE lessons will never be the same!

As for apps, I’ve just published my Top 10 VR Education Apps of 2019 on VR Focus which you can read here.

Will VirtualiTeach continue to be non-profit?

Yep. Even though I’m running my own company now, I’m going to keep sharing content freely here on VirtualiTeach.

Will the #CPDinVR events continue?

Yes and in fact we’re two months deep into “Season 3” and that included the huge 8 session event for World VR Day which you can read about/watch here.

Now you work for yourself, can you help me with AR/VR integration at my school?

Short answer is potentially. Depends on the location/time/commitment etc. Get in touch via the Contact page if you want to start a discussion.

Will you continue to write your column on VR Focus too?

I will, but it will be less frequent I think as I have a wider array of commitments now. You can find the archive of my articles at VR Focus here.

What about your YouTube channel?

Yeah... that project simply ate up too much of my time. definitely gave me a newfound respect for the people doing it full-time. It's hard work being a one-man TV studio! The channel is still there but I will revert to just adding content to it that supports articles on here. Oh and I'll keep adding to the curated 360° playlists too!

Can I use/quote __________ in my presentation/paper?

I’ve been getting asked this more and more recently. I am totally happy for any of the content here on VirtualiTeach to be used or quoted as long as the source is referenced.

And finally, the obvious one –

Is VR dead?

Of course it isn’t - it’s still in its infancy. Its starting to find its feet now though so let the fun and games begin.

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