How does virtual reality bridge the gap between learning and fun?
Virtual reality immerses students in worlds they might never otherwise explore. From field trips in the Redwoods Forest of Northern California to learn about photosynthesis to an escape castle where trolls are dismissed with correct answers, VictoryVR curriculum focuses on standards based learning in an engaging and entertaining way.
Tell us about the science curriculum you are creating in virtual reality?
The curriculum covers 24 units and 120 experiences within those units. It is completely based on Next Gen Science Standards which are widely adopted in the United States. Each unit has two learning stories, one science teacher experiment, one virtual field trip and one interactive activity. From the solar system, to cellular respiration, science is covered indepth and immersively.
What grade levels are you focused on and why?
The first VR library of curriculum is focused on grades 5-8 science. The second library will be grades 9-12 science.
What platforms will it be available for?
It will launch on the Oculus Rift initially and move to the Vive next. An at-home version will be released for phones and Sony Playstation this fall.
What are the equipment requirements for a typical setup?
Equipment setup requires an Oculus Rift and then a computer capable of handling that. Shopping at Best Buy, a bundle can be purchased for less than $1500.
Is it more of a gaming experience or a classroom experience.
It’s a curriculum learning experience which intersects with gaming, movie theaters, adventure travel, comic books and museum visits.
Can you give us a short scenario describing a classroom session, how it runs, feedback and outcome?
A student is assigned a unit, say the Solar System.
1) They start with a two part movie theatre visit watching short films that cover the information they need to learn.
2) They then move to an interactive experience floating in the solar system where they travel from planet to planet using only their eyes. While at each planet, they learn about each one.
3) From there they travel to the top of Sunspot Mountain in New Mexico and visit one of the largest telescopes in the U.S. There they hear about Apache Point Observatory from the director of the facility.
4) Then they join Wendy Martin, America’s national runner-up teacher of the year, as she does a demonstration of the solar system in a school gym with students rotating around the middle. The student with the headset on is in the middle and plays the role of the sun.
5) Finally, students have a 3-quiz assessment that is taken completely in the virtual world of space while the results are saved to the Cloud for review by the instructor.
What are some of the interactive experiences available in your VR experience?
The interactive experiences are exciting, immersive and instructional. Students get to drive a race car, tagging correct answers as they go. They also are in the center of a cylindrical word search that is answered using their eyes as they drag the cursor across the correctly found words. From there, they may go inside a human cell and learn about each element of the cell. And while many museums may be boring, the molecule museum has lifesize molecules, burning flames, huge lightbulbs and many other 3D objects that lend themselves to learning about atoms at the molecular level. Even more, students stand on top of a mountain and toss boulders at trolls preventing them from summiting. But boulders are only available through getting correct answers.
Why do you think this is the future of education?
Students in the United States dramatically underperform their peers worldwide. We must roll out a 10X improvement to the way we teach science today. Virtual reality gives us the ability to – for the first time – touch all four learning methods in one tool. Students learn by reading, hearing, seeing and interacting in an experiential way through the technology now available through virtual reality.
Students now fight to be first to learn science like they might have done to go to recess or lunch.