This guest post was kindly written by Stuart Gent, Stuart is a qualified teacher and former Google Expeditions associate who is passionate about incorporating technology, specifically VR, into the curriculum. After finishing his contract on the Google Expeditions Programme, Stuart founded PrimeVR with the aim of making VR more accessible for schools, especially for those kids who play at home and really need help.
Ten facts you need to know about VR in education
1. VR & AR are set to be worth $35 billion annually by 2025.
VR is one of the fastest growing trends in the world and this estimated market size is not surprising. Education is one of the earliest adopters of this technology and it is set to revolutionise the classroom over the next five years.
2. 1 million students have already used VR in the UK
The Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme reached 1 million students across the UK. After launching in the US in 2015, the Pioneer Programme came over to the UK in September 2016.
3. There are currently over 600 experiences available in Google Expeditions
Teachers can take their students to see the Galapagos islands, explore inside the human body, jet off into space and even swim underwater with sharks. The possibilities are endless.
4. The Discovery Channel has created a free educational VR app
Discovery VR was created by the Discovery Channel and it gives students the opportunity for example to take a trip to Mount Everest in a helicopter or visit a Panda sanctuary in China. Unlike Google Expeditions, Discovery VR is video based rather than panoramic images.
5. VR will be worth $700m in education by 2025
According to Goldman Sachs (2016), the VR market in education will be worth a whopping $300m in 2020 and $700m in 2025.
6. Google are going to be launching their AR Pioneer Programme in the US this year
Following on from the successful Expeditions Programme in the US and UK, Google are going to be bringing their AR technology to schools across the US from this year. You can sign up to the AR Expeditions Programme.
7. For VR to work smartphones must have a gyroscope and accelerometer
In order to use VR with your smartphone it must have both a gyroscope and accelerometer. Both of these sensors allow for movement and orientation to be detected. Most people will have both of these sensors in their phone without even knowing they have.
8. Look out for a ‘Works with Google Cardboard’ sticker
If you are looking for a headset for your school, look out for the ‘WWGC’ sticker as this guarantees a certain level of quality (the lenses, materials used, calibration etc.). If you were planning to mainly use Google Expeditions, I would definitely recommend the WWGC accreditation.
9. Hundreds of free VR lesson plans on TES
There are hundreds of lesson plans available for Google Expeditions on TES. There are lessons for all subjects and they range from KS1 to KS4. You can also access free lesson plans on PrimeVR.
10. VR will increase engagement in your classroom
This is based on experience rather than being 100% fact. I have been into over 100 schools with VR and every class I’ve worked with, engagement has gone through the roof!