As part of our new DELTA Explores series, we’re sharing how we research, test and explore the latest in immersive technology and its role in teaching and learning — how we Think before we Do.
In the latest post below, Immersive Media Support Specialist Justin Kuhn shares our thoughts and what we’ve learned about creating real-time virtual reality (VR) experiences so far.
For example, a fun finding from testing, we realized that real-time VR experiences turn users into simultaneous beings. See gif for proof ⬇️
Exploring the VR Classroom
Written by Justin Kuhn
In the past few months, we’ve been exploring the possibility of creating real-time virtual experiences for students to have inside the classroom. Whether that’s traveling alongside researchers to the extremes of the planet or training for scientific laboratories, college-level learners can engage in a collective adventure.
Showtime VR makes this technology a reality. Using a local-area network, the instructor controls and narrates a virtual reality video for a classroom full of students at the same time. Once synchronized, each student, who is connected through a VR Headset, will view the same video until the instructor pauses or ends the video. While less interactive than a game, this technology affords the instructor a strong ability to guarantee a quality introductory experience to all learners.
In early March, before the outbreak of COVID-19, we gathered a dozen DELTA staff to test it all out. Though a few other staff and I spent hours prepping the Lenovo Mirage Solo devices with a single video, we still encountered a few hurdles. Since the handheld controllers were wireless, we had some inference issues pairing them with a specific headset. Even after everything was set up, trying to lead a room full of adults with headsets on is more challenging than it sounds. I can’t imagine trying to get the attention of a room of college kids!
What are our next steps? With Showtime VR, the video content that we create can be distributed in a way that’s much better suited for classroom learning. With Showtime VR we’re not limited to who makes the content either. When 360° cameras become cheaper and more user friendly, students and faculty can create their own videos for real-time presentation. Whether it’s data visualization or community-gathering experiences, the application of 360° video is more approachable than ever.