People are always looking for new ways to improve the quality of education and make learning more effective and engaging. The digital age changed our lives. Now, search engines help find the necessary information in a matter of seconds, and thanks to ebooks, you can monitor all the latest news on the go. All the achievements of the technological age make our life easier. So why not study through virtual reality technology?
Virtual reality is expected to Reach $44.7 Billion by 2024. Today, it is a must-have educational tool in some US and UK schools. For example, VR medical education solutions allow students to delve into the world of medicine. A VR headset is considered to be the most effective and stimulating method of learning. However, to create high-quality educative classrooms, people may face a variety of difficulties. If you are a newbie in this area, it is tough to do this yourself. So in this insightful review, we’ll take a look at the main tips that might help you create a superb VR educational zone in your company, college, or university. We’ll show what obstacles you may face and explain how to properly build a VR classroom.
Mobile or Tethered VR Headset? What are the Main Differences?
It is a widespread question for those who want to create an educational VR classroom. It is up to you to decide what kind of device to choose. However, it would help if you kept in mind that a lot depends on your goals. What is the purpose of your VR project? Is it focused on individual or group training? Do you want to demonstrate marketing projects or show 360 videos?
There are two types of VR headsets: tethered and mobile VR headsets. Tethered VR headsets have combined displays. You need to connect them to personal computers or gaming systems. But mobile headsets use smartphones for the display. You can’t use them without smartphones.
Mobile VR Headsets
Mobile VR headsets are smaller in size and cheaper. The main reason for it is that smartphones do the majority of the work. Some mobile headsets are grounded on the Google Cardboard prototype. That’s why they don’t have any electrical components in the design. They are just screens with the lenses that divide the screen of your smartphone into two parts. However, such headsets are more limited in functionality. It is really hard to adapt very long projects with high-quality graphics to mobile headsets. To achieve this goal, additional resources are needed.
Mobile headsets such as Vive Focus or Oculus Go are ideally suited for playing 360 videos. You can play any video at the work desk of your students. However, it is recommended to use additional headphones because the sound quality will be poor.
For example, Vive Focus comes with a powerful Kiosk mode – a multi-featured dashboard that allows you to restrict some apps which a user can accidentally open when using Vive Focus. This feature is very convenient when it comes to school or corporate training
However, mobile VR headsets aren’t suitable for those who care about the quality of the simulation. You also can’t use mobile headsets when your classroom doesn’t have enough electrical outlets. When your students use headsets every day, their battery drains too fast.
Moreover, you can’t use mobile headsets in a small classroom. To use it, a student should move, but when the space is limited, it is impossible to do this.
You can’t use mobile headsets if you want to enjoy this technology with high-quality displays. In such a scenario, you need to buy a tethered headset.
Tethered VR Headsets
Tethered headsets are rather expensive and resource-intensive. Moreover, compared to mobile headsets, they include more head-tracking abilities. They come with devoted motion sensors and are compatible with outside cameras. You can also use them together with handheld controls such as keyboards and gamepads. As a result, you’ll increase their possibilities.
The quality of graphics in tethered headsets is of much better quality, and they are ideally suited for teamwork. You can use such headsets as Vive Pro, Oculus Rift and, Vive Cosmos when you care about the image quality, productivity and, the capability to move.
If you want to use such well-known devices as HTC Vive or HTC Vive Pro, you need to buy additional equipment and have a more spacious classroom. But if you want to use Oculus Quest, there’s no need to install additional cameras and primary stations.
To use one tethered headset, you need one computer. That’s why you should think about this issue in advance. Moreover, only five students can study simultaneously in one classroom. So if you plan to teach more students, tethered headsets aren’t a perfect solution.
How to Create a VR Classroom?
VR is a powerful learning tool that is extensively used at a variety of higher educational establishments. Thanks to VR, students can just teleport to a variety of locations, immerse themselves into the atmosphere of Ancient Greece, Egypt, or any other place. But when introducing VR in the classroom, there are a few things you need to take into consideration:
- Set the right goals and tasks for VR learning.
- Determine the max number of students in one group.
- The period of learning.
- Determine the right size of the classroom.
If you aren’t going to give VR lessons every day, you need to design a harmonious workspace that you can use for any purpose. There’s no need to buy a variety of devices. To study complicated topics, you need to subdivide students into a few groups.
If you are going to teach kids, at least one or two adults are needed in the classroom. This person should help set up the equipment.
The virtual reality programs that use headgear:
- Oculus Rift – the first VR hardware developer. All the products developed by this company are widely used for video games. However, they can also be easily adapted for training programs. It is possible to connect businesses to Oculus Rift for professional customer service simulation, sales education, or onboarding exercises.
- Google Cardboards. It is a cheaper alternative that can use your mobile device as the central platform. You can easily use this tool to engage your employees by introducing a new project. All in all, it’s a perfect tool for companies with a rather small budget.
- Microsoft HoloLens – A powerful tool for large companies to train their employees. It allows business owners to choose what applications they want to use on the virtual reality hardware.
If you are going to use tethered headsets, you need to keep in mind that not all classrooms can be used for this purpose. For example, if the room size is 25 square feet, you can’t use more than four tethered headsets in it.
But what if a company has a few branch offices that are located in different cities? And all of them want their employees to undergo VR training? In this case, off-site training might be the right solution. Experts in this niche must organize a learning process. But in such a scenario, they need to buy additional protective cases for headsets, glasses, and laptops.
You should know that VR technology can’t work on its own. Every company should have a person who will be responsible for the maintenance of the equipment, charging, timely updating, etc.
A Few Crucial Aspects You Need to Be Aware Of
We have a few years of experience in this niche, and now, we want to share a few pieces of advice that might help you create a VR classroom which will meet the demands of all students.
- You should check whether all the electrical sockets are correctly working. If you are going to use tethered headsets, you need to have a few sockets in the room. Remember that the battery of mobile headsets drains pretty fast, and you need to juice it every day.
- What about HDMI cables? All necessary cables come together with headsets, but you may lose or break them. That’s why we strongly suggest having a few additional cables.
- Make sure the classroom has a stable internet connection.
- Think about the storage unit for glasses and headsets.
If managed properly, building a VR classroom is easy. But it would be best if you plan everything in advance. Moreover, your budget should be enough to cover all the expenses. Decide what VR equipment you are going to use and plan everything. Check whether you have enough cables, protective cases, outlets, and HDMI wires.
If you have any questions, seeking clarification, our professional team is always here to help you. We are ready to deal with educational establishments and companies to help them build the right VR classroom and create VR/AR content for educational purposes.
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