The simplest definition of virtual reality is “a computer-generated, immersive simulation.” With the help of VR equipment (immersive rooms, headsets, controllers, smartphones, 360-degree videos, game consoles), users are able to look at, move through, and interact with a virtual world. These simulated environments are used primarily for recreational gaming, education, vocational training, and medicine. This blog will discuss some examples of VR in education and how to get started with VR on your phone.
Virtual reality in education
In the field of medicine, virtual reality applications help future doctors and nurses run through simulations of patient interactions as well as study anatomy. Doctors are able to view 3D models of organs to plan operations or use virtual environments to treat patients struggling with PTSD or pain.
Professors are using virtual reality to send students on field trips to museums to study art and historical artifacts. In engineering and architecture programs, students are asked to build and explore 3D models. There are virtual reality applications that send students inside cells to study biology or to the Big Dipper to study astronomy and street scenes in foreign countries to study second languages.
Try virtual reality yourself
Not ready to invest in an Oculus Go or a series of PlayStation VR games? An easy way to start interacting with virtual reality is to try using a VR mobile viewer (such as a Google Cardboard or Daydream or Samsung Gear VR) with your smartphone. From there you can search for virtual reality apps for your phone or search for content freely available on the internet. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Download the Google Cardboard app. It gives you an orientation to interacting with VR and some basic content.
- Expeditions and Tour Creator are applications that can take the viewer on a virtual field trip and also allows them to create their own.
- Try the virtual reality version of the bomb diffusing team game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.
- Applications from news organizations like The New York Times and CNN offer crafted stories, videos, and photos with professional 360-degree footage.
- You can also explore YouTube for 360-degree videos.