Classes in our school division have had access to a class set of 30 Virtual Reality viewers for 3 school weeks now. Cathy and I have done lots of learning and discovery as we have transported the VR viewers and run VR in seven of our schools so far; we will be visiting another two schools new to VR this week. This week I will be posting a few times about our learning curve in this exciting new project.
Things that we have learned:
- Google Expedition is a great way to start sharing VR with whole classes; the teacher/leader guides and all students experience the same thing at the same time
- It is important to tell students ahead of time that they should pull the glasses down and take a break if they are feeling dizzy
- We have quickly made the rule that students have to stay seated — bottoms in your seats!
- It is important to give all instructions BEFORE students take their first peek! The first moments when students start to explore is priceless to listen to, and they are so excited. It is not worth trying to interrupt this moment of discovery with any information!
- Students always want to know what the silver button on the top of the viewer does. In Google Expedition, it does NOTHING. I tell them to go ahead and push it all they want!
- VR eats battery life! We cannot do a full day of Google Expedition with a different class every period – the battery is done after about three sessions of approximately 30 minutes. It even seems we have one or two units that have difficulty keeping a charge — we are trying to pin point them.
- As teachers search for Google Expeditions to run with their class, it is VERY important to actually download the tour, and then click on each tab to see the images that are available. Often, what sounds like the perfect title, is a boring museum or monument tour.