The moment there is a mention of advanced technologies such as AR and VR, the first thing that comes to one’s mind is the exorbitant price of the kits.
So, in this piece, we will break the glass ceiling of utter misconception and help you include the benefits of immersive technology in pedagogy for effective learning experience without making a hole in your pocket.
The idea is- don’t assume for a second that to get started with AR and VR tools you need to be mindful about soaring prices. Instead, you could jolly well begin with free of costs Apps and Tools. Again, don’t suppose that because they are free of cost, so your students will have to compromise on the quality of experience. No, that isn’t the case because we will recommend you credible and popular tools to rely on. And, if you want to try out subscription-based Apps/ tools for a richer set of tools and added benefits, all that you have to do is pay the affordable subscription fee and continue using the same tool with a better experience.
The steps we recommend you before introducing you with the tools, in the following segment of this piece will help you plan intelligently and get the right value for every rupee that you spent if you wish to start not with the freemium option first but straightway with the paid version of the tool.
Steps to Start with AR & VR Tools
Know the Difference
You must have found that both AR and VR are increasingly used in technology, so knowing the difference is important for you. To be frank with you, it’s not the cost always but the lack of adequate knowledge of something that acts as a barrier for you to successfully use immersive technology in the classroom. Once you learn about the technology, you will find it is as simple as operating your smartphone or computer.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are two of the ways that tech can change the way you look at the world. Often, people think Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is the same thing but that’s not so and so knowing the difference is important before directly getting started with the technology.
To explain it to you, Augmented Reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone, while Virtual Reality (VR) implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world.
Set Clear Cut Goals
In order to create a plan to implement any new technology, your school has to be very identifying a set of goals. It is so, because, often times, there are few expectations provided on the outcomes of the lessons as the purpose or goal is not clear. Surprisingly, most academic administrators have no vision and mission related to employment and deployment of technology but they are rather eager to make a purchase and once done, what next? It’s simple, they stand baffled!
See, immersive technology does have an impressive factor attached to it but it offers more than just being a cool learning experience. Setting a plan to address some of the complex concepts that students struggle to understand and making the connection to relevant content are a few valuable ways to use immersive technology effectively. Plan out how you wish to use this technology for better student learning experience.
Collaborate To Make It a Success
See, it’s not a one-man show and so assigning one educator or administrator to implement AR and VR may be the usual pattern but this, however, can be the biggest pitfall too. Yes, the collaboration between multiple parties can help avoid falling into the big hole.
Taking your first step by introducing the technology to students as it can turn out to be the most accomplishing decision on your part and give space to student's voice in the right way. They can serve as an essential resource for discussing the importance of this technology for their learning and can participate in a thoughtful discussion on the best ways to use the tools in lessons. Student collaboration can be a powerful engagement motivator, transforming basic lessons into an active classroom session.
Next, is your role as an integral member of the curriculum team to confirm that the immersive technology lessons align with standard core curriculum and the expectations of the school authority to make lessons enriching for students for a better learning experience. Make a note, that the curriculum should always drive the selection of technology, not the other way around. And finally, involve the IT department as they can help you out in finding out the availability of services, access to devices and any tech- related restrictions- all play a huge role in the successful implementation of immersive technology.
Frugal Ways to Get Started
To start with, we recommend you some popular tools that are readily accessible with smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks or even desktop computers. Use a Chromebook or desktop that will only be able to view the creation by using the mouse and keys to navigate through the scene instead of true AR and VR experience.
VR AR Viewing and Creation: Chromebook, Desktop, Tablet, Mobile Device
Both of them have Freemium Options
This is web-based and also has android and iOS apps for creation and viewing. This tool allows the user to create true virtual reality scenes that can be viewed with VR goggles to fully interact and move around the scene. Alternatively, one can also view and interact with the scenes on a Chromebook, tablet or computer.
For a detailed review on the CoSpaces, click here.
CoSpaces has partnered with Merge Cube (an upcoming AR tool) to create rich AR experiences. Merge cube is basically a foam cube that works as a marker to view AR experiences through different apps. Merge is basically a new tool that is moving quickly to break through in the education marketplace. We recommend you this tool for the simple reason that, CoSpaces has both free version for teachers and students to get a taste of the experience and also a paid version for a richer set of tools and objects.
You could also use CoSpaces with Metaverse for a rich AR and VR experience.
VR Viewing & Creation: Chromebook, Desktop, Tablet, Mobile Device
ThingLink allows the users to create a highly customized and interactive 360 series of images. Users can create custom buttons for the “hot spots” or “tags” to allow a user to gather more information. The tags can contain more than just text, audio or an image. The tag can link to a URL; embed content (Google docs, maps, Padler and more), play a video, or link to another 360 image. For more details on the tool, click here.
AR Viewing and Creation: Mobile and Tablet
Free and some paid
You must have observed that students have fun when they are handed over a coloring worksheet. So, the same fun students can enjoy with Quivervision. On the products website, users can select digital colouring sheets to print for their students. There is a great educational starter pack for free, as well as a set of about 30 mask templates.
Students get more fun when once printed the user colours the worksheet and then uses the App on their mobile device or tablet to make it come to life in AR. Further, the education pack has several objects which include interactive quizzes and animations, including a volcano that erupts. For more details on the tool, check here.
Are you now ready to get started with AR and VR experience in the classroom? We hope the steps recommended to you in this piece must have given you enough enthusiasm to get started with it. So why wait, explore the tools and once done, do remember to write to us about your experience and share it with other educators to find inspiration from you.