Thursday, June 24

Oculus Rift and Education

In the age of technological development every day there is a new invention, new advancement in technology which we yesterday thought wouldn’t be possible but today it is possible and change the way you do & see things. Virtual Reality is from that league, it made those things possible which we never thought of. Now you can hear & feel things virtually. It is an environment created by software presented to the user in such a way that the user accepts it as a real environment. Earlier VR hardware was big, could have spanned the whole room but in 2012 in a breakthrough advancement Palmer Luckey turned it into a portable device and this is how Oculus Rift came into being.

The Oculus Rift is virtual reality hardware that you can wear over the head and in front of your eyes like a helmet with a visor. It generates 3D stereoscopic images that give you a feeling of a real environment. Its Headset can track the head movement in 6 axes, 3 rotational & 3 positional. This allows users to complete involvement and pin-point viewing control. Currently, the primary application of oculus rift is in immersive gaming, but it has a great future in other fields also and more significant among these is education. The use of VR through Oculus Rift would make teaching very interesting, exciting & interactive. Which student won’t love to interact with the things they learn in the classroom? Imagine learning history won’t be the same as juggling between dates & names of places. With VR students can be there in the history and visuals they interact with will make it easier for them to learn and remember facts.

Oculus Rift is slowly making its way into the education sector. Recently an experiment took place in Mendel Grammer School in Opava, Czech Republic where instead of pen, papers & books students sat down in a classroom with Oculus Rift DK2 headsets incorporated with the new advance feature of Leap Sensors, this allowed students to interact with the virtual world with hands. An interactive simulation of the human body presented to students and they showed great interest in learning as they could virtual gripped on various organs of the human body.

With the help of Virtual Reality, the classroom can become live space to visit places virtually. Virtual trips to historical places, museums, planets & solar systems are already made possible. But implementing VR in learning is very expensive and hence it is impossible for every school invests in it.

In 2014, a Harvard research team developed a DK2 compatible software called the “The Giza Project”. It allows the user to virtually tour Pyramids of Egypt. Currently, they are working to bring the Ancient Rome to VR as well. All these initiatives are good enough to push & create a better scope of VR in education.