Virtual Reality, or VR, is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment which can be explored in 360 degrees. Unlike traditional interfaces, VR places the user inside the virtual environment to give an immersive experience.
To allow this feeling of presence, a VR headset is used, such as the ones available for borrow at OISE Library. Other notable examples of VR headsets include Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Google Daydream View, or Google Cardboard. These headsets remove vision of the real world and provide video to each eye allowing for depth of vision. This technology is then supported by head and body tracking to connect the virtual world to what the user is seeing.
For more Virtual Reality Terminology, please see VR.Space's Virtual Reality Glossary.
(With thanks to the members of the Lyndhurst STEM Club of New Jersey for their suggestion of this resource)
While the term virtual reality may be used to describe different types of immersive experiences or altered reality experiences, it is not the same as augmented reality.
1. Virtual Reality
2. Augmented Reality
3. Mixed or Merged Reality
Note: In its simplest form, 360-degree is not VR. However, 360-degree experiences are used in VR where users view 360-degree content within a VR headset. VR utilizes sensors to track the user's head movements to create an illusion that he/she is an alternate world with no visibility of the real world. With 360-degree content, users are not fully immersed because they can look up, down, and around but not move forward.
To read more on the comparison:
Image credit from EdTech4Beginners.com, licensed under Creative Commons usage
Virtual reality is an emerging technology in classrooms to supplement the teaching of a subject or topic to in order to ‘feel' the content. Beyond engagement, VR allows students to explore, experience, and become immersed in virtual environments. There are two ways virtual reality can be used in the classroom: a student explores a virtual environment using a computer, keyboard, and mouse; or a student explores using some input device, e.g. controller, virtual reality headset. The latter set-up fully immerses students using head mounted display (HMD).
This tool can be used for any subject and gives educators an avenue to explore with learners as well as engage with a variety of learning styles. For instance, students can walk through a rainforest and discover different animals and vegetation. The technology also offers large scope for design and coding. VR can be incorporated into the classroom curriculum to teaches personal and social skills breaking down barriers of location and communication.
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