Ok. I can't type anymore and I can't honestly keep up. University of Delaware is keeping me ridiculously busy at all times and so I've let the blog go. I know how important it is however, so I'm going to strive to do one better, while trying to be more efficient at getting information as to what VR Wheatley is up to out in the community.
In short, I'm creating a vlog that will hopefully be updated weekly. The first video will be kind of big as I haven't updated in months. A lot has changed since the last time I've updated.
I'll update you more in the VLOG soon. I've also decided to YouTube them all. The hosting on my site isn't the best.
See you soon.
Hey guys, the BODY VR just was released for the vive and I have to say it is pretty amazing. A trip through the human body has never been done like this before! It's about as cool as being on the magic school bus in real life. Err...Virtual Life. I'll be posting soon on this.
This new program is pretty amazing. It let's you visit multiple areas in the past and present via "picture clues" that kids have to find in the environment. I'll let my video speak for itself.
I've been waiting for a while now on an "educational sandbox" type of VR application that will assist me in bringing VR into the school environment.
Right now, there are a lot of "sit and get" type of VR experiences that enable you to digest a bunch of information, but the novelty will wear off after some time unfortunately. Kids have a very short attention span, so if you are not interacting with the material at hand, things can get boring quick.
Luckily, Engage VR Education Platform has done quite an update with their "Lecture VR" application, completely redesigning the features and name of the program. To keep it short, you can watch the video below to get a quick glimpse of what's to come.
As you can see, there is a TON of information. The platform is currently in alpha and will continue to update. I've demoed it quite a bit so far, but haven't really been able to record much later. I'll throw up a montage soon of what i've been working on.
I'm excited though! This is what I've been looking forward to. Updates coming soon.
A new application called Mindshow allows you to become any character that you want. Your motion and voice are captured in realtime as your act. Instantly play yourself back and watch how you did. This could be a great tool for kids to see how their physical actions should mimic their vocal interactions. It would also be great for film editing students to create movies of their own.
Google today came out with a great surprise. Audio Reactive Brushes are now available for Tilt Brush which comes free with any of our VR packages. Your art acts as an equalizer and dances with you as you paint. Definitely cool! I'll post my reactions once I have time to play with it. In the meantime, check out the release video below.
VR Day Origins
VR Day was made through a post on "education and virtual reality" within the reddit community. (reddit.com/r/vive) Nelson Milian and Willie Avendano from learn01.io agreed to meet up in AltSpace and talk about how we could better incorporate virtual reality and education. Nelson and I lead the charge and started to create the first (we think it's the first) educational collaboration experience involving modeling in VR.
The lesson took about four weeks to setup with the Learn01 group meeting virtually in AltSpaceVR to talk about what we were going to do. First came the technical aspect.
I was lucky enough to have connections with Becky Evaristo, an upward bound project coordinator that works at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown Delaware. She hooked me up with Robert Bell, the technical master for the school, who gave me open ports and access to the LAN for a stable internet connection. Only problem was is that my other computer had to be wireless. Finally, Laurel Davis at DelTech organized groups for my kids to come through the day to experience VR. It was great to have people who are not afraid to embrace and expose kids to new technology.
First came the setup. Watch the video below.
The lesson had to let our students use a 3dsculpting program called SculptrVR. The kids joined a multiplayer session and jumped in. Each class tried to come up with a "prototype" to help a real world problem. The Florida class created a "Humane Mouse Trap" while our class tried to create a sound amplifier for a cellphone. Both groups showed off interesting results where students had to come up with different prototypes and then design them. We could then export the .obj file and tweak the image in TinkerCad. Finally, we could print them out on the 3d printer to have a tangible figure from a virtual world. If that's not cool to you, you probably have stopped reading by now anyways.
Unfortunately, I was pretty busy during this stage, so I don't have any video from my phone. I did however pull some footage from the Del Tech Facebook.
Our skype connection was pretty terrible. The Wifi at the college isn't the best when there are 200+ kids all running pokemon go at the same time. Laggy connection speed and poor audio quality made it hard to communicate with the Florida group. This was the only problem we had however. I'll take it considering all of the things that could go wrong.
The End of Prototyping, Start of Pictionary
At the end of the prototyping experiment we simple ran out of time. Giving the students about 30 minutes to do this activity was obviously rushed, but we were just testing the waters. We decided the last little bit of the lesson could incorporate a game of pictionary, where one class would guess what the other class was drawing. Applause, laughter, and a genuine good time were all present during this part. It all ended with a virtual hug and fireworks shot into the air by both students in the virtual world...(this was definitely not scripted).
Florida Sculpting a 3d Snorlax
The Ending (Obviously not edited)
Another View of the Virtual Reality Hug and Fireworks
(All things considered it went pretty smoothly. Things can definitely improve on the software front. If there is an application or game that comes out that is strictly an educational sandbox type of program...I will be all over it. I really want to thank Becky Evaristo, Laurel Davis, and Robert Bell from Delaware Tech Georgetown Campus for making this experience run smoothly. It's a blast to see people as excited as I am for this new technology.
Hopefully we can keep it going!
If you want to try this for your own school, see my product page for pricing or email me at VRwheatley@gmail.com. If you're serving a good group of kids, there's a high chance I'll give you a discount or do it for free because I love it. I have to charge something for the equipment costs however. Wear and tear is a very real thing when 60+ participants try on a Vive.
Sorry for the delay in posting...having a baby is a big deal.
I am currently a math teaching specialist for a large university in the United States. I have an incredible passion for education as well as video games. In fact, I think their is a strong bond between the two that we have not discovered yet.
Sure, we all have played "educational" video games such as math blasters or Oregon trail, but these are barely scratching the surface of what we can do. I think the problem stems from the fact that programmers and developers do not have the knowledge base on what makes a good lesson, how to align gaming with standards, and how to make education in general interesting and fun. Even large companies such as google are missing the mark as they have virtual field trips with google cardboard. Sure, the kids are really interested for a couple lessons, but the novelty wears off after a while.
We need to do better. We need more immersive technology that assists in learning, instead of supplanting it with an intriguing idea that never fully connects with kids. This happens all the time. I remember when I was in school we had laserdisc which entire districts purchased just to have in their rooms. Once again, to kids it was really cool about the first 5 times and then the novelty wears off.
Having a Vive is different. I've had high school students come over and find surface area and volume of the buildings in Tilt Brush, and actually remember the difference between the two. (How many of you know the difference between surface area and volume without looking it up? It's scary to see how many college students don't know the difference) I've had students build models in fantastic contraption, which I then put real measurements to, to calculate low level questions for lower grades and have shown velocity, speed, and distance/displacement questions relating to them. This is the first time I think students are realizing the difference between subtleties and it can only get better with this technology.
My point is....THIS is how we should be doing education with virtual reality. Immersive experiences in the context of critical problems with virtual models. It will be a game changer for many, especially when the technology goes main stream.
SO HERE IS WHAT I ASK OF YOU.
I have access to over 100 teachers next week who will be trying out the Vive as an end of school year activity. I can survey them however you would like. What would you like to know from a research standpoint about 100 random teachers of all different age,race etc.
I also have access to over 60 low SES kids from local high schools that will be meeting with me in July. What would you like to know about them?
I can post the survey results next week.
TL/DR: I'm a math teaching specialist who loves the Vive. I have access to over 100 teachers and about 60 kids this summer to try out the vive. Developers: What would you like me to survey/research on?
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Your VR Blogger
Math Teaching Specialist for the University of Delaware.