VR in Education will provide tips and explore topics related to using immersive Virtual Reality in the classroom.
Episode 2-Hardware Considerations for VR in the Classroom
Hi there everyone welcome to Episode 2 of the VR in education podcast, today we will look at what a teacher or school needs to consider if they want to get started with immersive VR in their classroom. I will compare and contrast 3 main players and then offer recommendations on what might be best moving forward.
Before we dive further into this podcast, I wanted to remind listeners that although there is a plethora of vr units on the market, included phone based vr like google cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, this podcast will focus more on higher-end immersive vr units.
One might think of being in and using Vr analogous to flying kite high in the sky. As the kite soars, higher in the one often gets lost in the joy and immersiveness of the experience and time seems to feel irrelevant. Let’s consider the the parts to a kite.
The main body of a kite is the frame made of poles and fabric. The Poles give it the rigid framework in the shape of a cross. It is this cross that provides the strength and foundation for all flights. Around the cross or frame we wrap material like plastic or fabric to give it resistance to the wind and let it soar and fly. In Vr, this might be the type of experience each unit offers based on the properties of the headset and the controllers.
The tail of this kite plays an important role in keeping it balanced and steady in the sky. The tail represents the “games and applications in vr”. Each part of the tail is unique and supports the kite in different ways.
Currently, there are 3 main competitors that offer high-end realistic, interactive VR experiences. So, let’s compare these three kites.
Putting together the frame and attaching the
Ease of Set up
Requires the most set up, because of room scale
Relatively easy, with less things to consider
Very easy, plug and go
(Ability to catch the wind and fly high, fabric)
Type of Experience
Immersive, room scale interactive, large field of view and high resolution graphics, arguably the best of the three, feels like you are really part of the action
-no room scale less interactive, large field of view and high resolution, feels like you are really part of the action
Immersive, good resolution but not as powerful as the other 2, still feels like you are really part of the action but slightly less realistic
Tail of the Kite
Availability of Learning Type Games and Apps
Oculus desktop app or oculus.com, Steam
Playstation games from playstation.com.
VR content requires a powerful gaming PC to pump out the high frame rate required to make the experience fluid and enjoyable
needs to run on “Supercomputer”. One of the upgrades needed to basic computers is having a
-high end graphics card GTX 970 or higher, a processor like an Intel I5, and student of mine and I built a desktop computer were able to build one ourselves which was easier than I thought for around $2000. (CAD) OR, buy a portable laptop for around $1,500. (CAD)
Same or similar
Entirely different, games are run off playstation 4, which costs around $300. All these do is play games.
Could you Modify and Existing Laptop?
Which is type of Kite is Best to fly?
Whilst the oculus rift may be cheaper and almost as immersive, the HTC Vive is the clear winner in the battle for educational supremacy right now. With it’s room scale experience, slightly better realism offers experiences that are more enjoyable and memorable than it’s current competitors. The future is promising for higher end vr units that offer amazing interactive and immersive experiences. As I am recording this podcast the consumer and electronics show in Las Vegas is wrapping up and there have been several announcements about new things to look forward to in the world of VR. One is wireless capabilities. Currently Vr units are wired or tethered by a cable to the computer and you are limited in your ability to move around. However, HTC is offer a wireless solution to this which would enable the using to freely move around the space without worrying about tangling or tripping on the cable. It would be like flying a kite remotely without the string. Well, that wraps up this episode on hardware. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, you can always reach me on twitter (@cfrehlichteach) or provided comments on itunes. In next week's episode we start to look at the various types of educational games and applications that are available to play as well as talk about how to set up a VR Club in your School. Have a great week everyone.