Access to Augment, Virtual, & Mixed Reality Tools

*This post has been written as part of my journey as a Ph.D student through University of Regina

Class VR

Within our division we have two class sets (8 headsets each) of the Class VR headsets that are accompanied by a subscription to the teacher management and curriculum dashboard. This virtual reality tool is specifically designed for education; a demo video from YouTube is included below for your review

This would be the VR tool that I have the most experience with but it is purely from an instructional standpoint as I do not have my own students. This experience includes the initial set-up and trialing of the devices as well as teacher-coaching as they utilize them in their own classrooms. Some of the things that I like most about this tool include:

  • the management features for teachers
    • ability to see what each participant is seeing through my teacher dashboard
    • ability to stop the viewing experience for all or specific viewers at any time
    • integration of self-made material that can be pushed out to headsets
  • curricular content
    • access to pre-made curricular experiences searchable by subject and grade level
    • supplimentary lesson extension activities
    • lesson plans
  • flexibility
    • teachers/students can create and push out their own content
    • there is a sharing hub for user-created content
    • 3rd party content access including standard YouTube videos

I’ve attempted to curate a variety of resources to support teacher integration of these tools; I’ll include them below

Merge Cube

Within our division we have 5 Merge Cubes which are a tactile tool that, when paired with a mobile device (tablet or phone) produce interactive 3D simulations that students can interact with. A demo video from YouTube is included below:

Depending on your curricular plans, there are two companian apps that can be used to access content:

  • Merge Object Viewer 
    • Object Viewer puts hundreds of digital teaching aids in the palm of your hand! Students can learn about rocks and minerals, mammals, reptiles, lifecycles, cells, and so much more using different collections of hands-on 3D models. Students can also upload, view, and share their own 3D objects on the Merge Cube.” 
  • Merge Explorer 
    • Students can learn science effectively with over 100 science simulations they can touch, hold and interact with! Merge Explorer (along with a Merge Cube) allows students to investigate a smoking volcano in the palm of their hand, examine a great white shark up close, hold and explore the solar system, dissect a frog (humanely!), and so much more. With easy-to-follow activities and built-in quizzes, students gain key knowledge while immersed in learning, both in the classroom or while remote learning at home. Merge Explorer includes NGSS-aligned topics for K-8th grade, like Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth & Space Science.” 

I’ve attempted to curate a variety of resources to support teacher integration of these tools; I’ll include them below

Oculus Quest

In our province the Manitoba Association of Educational Technology Leaders (MAETL) has a lending library where schools can loan out specialized tech equipment. This can be done as a safe way to trial equipment before committing to a larger purchase or simply fill gaps in device needs when divisions are unable to facilitate their own purchase. MAETL has a set of 5 Oculus Quest VR headsets that can be loaned out by schools; I have included a demo video below

This is not something that I have personally tried yet although I know many educators who have had positive experiences with the devices.

To learn more, I recommend the resources curated by Library Guides.

Have you tried any of the tools included in this post? What has your experience been?