Back in February we received a small cardboard box with our Sunday New York Times. My husband—being who he is—put it down on the counter (unopened) and sat down to read the newspaper.
Later that afternoon, I found the box on the counter and asked what it was. Our conversation went something like this:
“What’s this box on the counter.” – me
“Dunno–it came with the paper.” – him
“You didn’t open it?” – me
“Nope – I didn’t know what it was.” – him
So I—being who I am—opened it up immediately., And this is what I found:
The New York Times–in conjunction with Google–had sent subscribers free samples of Google’s new virtual reality viewer: Google Cardboard.
After downloading the sample app, I found myself immersed in “The Displaced“–a short 360 video about wartime refugees that can be viewed through Google’s virtual reality viewer. Within seconds, I was transported to another place and looking through another’s eyes–all while sitting on my couch.
The possibilities of the virtual reality viewer are endless. Want to take your class on a tour of the White House? Done. Want to visit the Eiffel Tower? Done. Want to learn how a doctor used this cardboard technology to save a baby’s life from a rare heart and lung defect? Done.
I was able to get a class set of cardboard viewers by asking my neighbors for their NYT viewers shortly after they came in the mail. But it is good to know that they are fairly inexpensive in cardboard form. (They can even be made if you have a DIY sensibility.)
Once you get a few, the opportunities to use VR in the classroom are only limited by the availability of 360 degree video–of which there are more and more available each day–and your imagination.