Monday, 9 March 2015

Virtual Reality in Learning - a Possible Makerspace Activity

I have been having some fun recently trying my hand at making a VR viewer. This came about from a request from a student. In one of the classes in iTime, some students were investigating about Buchanan Castle in Scotland. This came about because one of the students is a Buchanan and was curious about her family's castle.

My first thoughts went to that immersive experience that you can have when using Google Maps Street view. As I had been researching VR Google Cardboard, I thought - 'Why not put the two together?'

I did some research about it and found out that you can order Google Cardboard here. Only problem with that is I am in Indonesia and the postal service is not only slow but often you can be charged a huge tax on delivered items. And I needed that thing now - not in a month's time.

So, then I searched some more and discovered that you can make your own using some lenses from cheap binoculars. I found a video all about it on You Tube below.

And here is a great resource here on Instructables.

I have an iPhone 6+ so the online templates didn't really fit my phone. You can get the idea from looking at the parts so it was easy to make my own. I found this great black plastic cardboard in the local stationary shop which makes the whole experience more immersive.

Here is my attempt. It would work better if the lenses were actually 45mm focal point. The toy binoculars were not as good as I had hoped. It does work a little bit though but you still get split panels either side of the image.

So you're probably wondering what apps go with this. The best one is 360Cities. You can view ones that other people have made just by going to the page via Safari. Look here below. You need to tap the view symbol (looks like glasses) to see it in double screen.

Here are all the apps that I like to use with VR Googles for Education:

Google Maps
JurassicVirtual Reality

Or for those who are curious - create your own VR experience here.