On our blog you can find:
- Practical tips on using VR in education;
- Output from our research projects;
- Guides to create your own VR content &
- Updates about the VR Learning Lab.
On our blog you can find:
By: Robin de Lange
Inspired by the Open science movement, among which this Open Kitchen Science approach, I’ve decided to join this movement and find a fitting open approach for the research we do. In this article I explain the motivation behind this decision and give you some background on our research.
I’m a guest PhD researcher at the Media Technology group at Leiden University, which means I have no paid appointment. Prof. dr. Bas Haring is my promotor. In the first year of my research I’ve been lucky enough to receive a small grant from LUF and the Gratama foundation. Moreover, the university pays me for the Honours Class I teach and the occasional guest lecture.
Besides this, my research is funded by the commercial services we offer with the Virtual Reality Learning Lab, which mostly consists of professional courses. Here we share the knowledge we’ve gained in our research in forms that are actually helpful for our clients. Our clients include schools, teachers (from primary school to University), educational publishers, professional training institutions, libraries and other organisations.
The VR Learning Lab collaborated on a project initiated by dr. Marie Postma and her colleagues at Tilburg University. Last week it was announced that this project will receive a NRO Comenius Senior Fellow grant! Here you can find the news item post on the website of Tilburg University.
The challenge of the project is to create a few Virtual and Augmented Reality learning experiences that help students understanding challenging topics within the curriculum of the Cognitive Science & Artificial Intelligence tracks. Our role in this project is to organize professional training for the involved teachers, researchers, and programmers and to help with the development of the educational innovations. A very interesting challenge, which you will definitely read more about on our website during the following years.
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Updates are coming on the Oculus Go, the highly anticipated stand-alone VR headset. Many educators are excited as well about this device, as it has a few important upsides:
The simplicity of this device really makes it attractive to schools. You can easily imagine a cart with 15 of these devices, including a charging system, which teachers can reserve for certain classes.
In my opinion however, the disadvantages of this system outweigh the advantages:
You only have access to the Oculus ecosystem, which is a really closed-off system and owned by Facebook
We have a lot of Oculus Gear VR headsets with Samsung phones. We really like those, as the Oculus system has quite high-quality experiences and most importantly: everything just works. But the great thing is that you can use these phones in other ways as well. You can use them for regular apps, or perhaps some Augmented Reality apps. Or use them to control 360 cameras and watch YouTube 360 videos. And most importantly: you can also easily use them for Google Cardboard apps which is a much more open ecosystem. You just slide the phone into a Google Cardboard headset and you’re ready to go. Or we sometimes even use this trick, where you don’t connect your phone to the Gear VR:
More experimental apps, or perhaps a VR experience that your students have created themselves, are usually only accessible from Google Cardboard. But also established educational apps like Google Expeditions are only for the Google Cardboard platform. You just miss a ton of content when you choose for an Oculus Go.
There was some discussion going on about this article, I decided to add an update.
First of all, we are well aware that we are quite privileged to have a choice between this many devices. But considering what we do, we think it makes sense.
Secondly: we’re not saying that this device doesn’t offer any value to schools. Of course not! The Oculus Store features some great apps. But we don’t think it’s the best option if you want to stay flexible, that’s why we don’t recommend it.
So, what do we recommend then? That’s quite a complicated question; we have noticed that we advice schools and teachers different things based on their specific situation. But if you want to buy ‘cheap’, versatile mobile VR sets and you don’t want to depend on the phones of your students, we advice to buy a Gear VR + a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S6 or newer. In the Netherlands you can get a refurbished S6 + Gear VR for around €235. And some other advice: don’t buy a lot of hardware at once as VR hardware improves pretty rapidly. Our advice is to take it slow, focus on the content and the implementation in your lessons and carefully take next steps.
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We created a virtual tour for HUBspot Leiden, the center for innovation and entrepreneurship in our lovely city. We’re very glad to be part of this great place!
Wearing a VR headset is often seen as a rather individual experience. And indeed, the immersiveness of the experience tends to seclude you from your environment and the people surrounding you. However, there are also different, exciting forms of collaboration in Virtual Reality. Some of these can be very interesting for collaborative learning, or for solving complex problems together. In this article we’ll discuss a few interesting projects, some of which are focused on local collaboration.
Virtual Reality in education gains more and more popularity and we are full of new plans. Therefore we are happy to welcome Kasper and IJsbrand in our team, who joined us recently. A short introduction.
First Kasper. He is a Media Technology student at the Hogeschool Leiden and is our new trainee. Kasper is supporting us with all sorts of educational activities and is developing his own VR app, in which he will show us what possibilities are already available for education. Curious? Be patience, he is still working on it…
IJsbrand is a journalist and copywriter. In our company he will write blogposts, is working on content marketing and is involved in creating our new online course. His goal is to help the VR Learning Lab to become better known abroad and to make the online course a succes.
It was already somewhat later in the evening when HUBspot colleagues Max and Tom were playing with clay, after a creative workshop. Robin joined them, together they created some figures. This evolved into an entire Pacman leven, after which someone suggested the idea to make a stop motion animation with 360 photos. A few hours later we had this:
Our new Google Cardboards are in! Still a very cool tool for a first introduction in VR. Participants of our workshops and masterclasses receive one of these to experiment further at home.
Virtual Reality for education is gaining quite a lot of media attention as more educators are experimenting with this technology. During the past weeks Robin gave a few interviews in Dutch.
We helped with the production of an item on the Dutch news show RTL Nieuws. Robin gave an interview at our office while Donna was drawing a tree in Tilt Brush. Teacher Malika van Gein (who participated in our Masterclass) shows how she uses VR during her geography lessons. Here you can watch the item!
Dutch radio show De Kennis van Nu interviewed Robin en wrote this articl on VR headsets in schools.
In the September issue the education magazine COS highlights Virtual Reality in education. Here you can find the issue.