Working on solutions for the classroom, we were curious to evaluate the educational value of virtual reality.
We had the following questions:
- What can we learn within 5 minutes or less with VR?
- What can we understand within 5 minutes or less with VR?
Based on the feedback from a few teachers using our educational experiences, we created several short scenarios with a focus on the relationship between the students and the teacher during the VR experiment.
The goal of the experiment is to evaluate if VR has a pedagogical value in the classroom.
For the experiment, the teacher and students stand up and hold a mobile device allowing them to move in the virtual world. The students can see the teacher but not the other students.
We had access to a group of children from 5 to 15 years old ready for short VR experiences.
The duration of the immersion was adjusted to the age of the students.
To limit the risk of motion sickness we proceeded as follow:
- We used state-of-the-art technology for the headset
- We used powerful computers with high end GPU
- Selected the experiment with high FPS and focused on contemplation more than action or movement
- The most important factor was to limit the time per age
We focused on 3 age groups to have contrasted results. We run 3 experiences per group of age group with 24 hours between experiments.
The teacher was present in the virtual world as a realistic avatar. Physical contact was preserved with the youngest students.
|Student's Age||Number of|
|5 years old||2||5 seconds||10 seconds||15 seconds|
|10 years old||3||15 seconds||30 seconds||1 minute|
|15 years old||3||45 seconds||2 minutes||5 minutes|
Participants of the same experience (maximum 4 with the teacher) are connected via Classroom Browser. Students can see the teacher as a realistic avatar, but not other students to avoid distraction. The teacher can see the position and the orientation of every student.
After the experience, we discussed with the students to evaluate the level of memorization or understanding. We waited a week to discuss again to evaluate the deepness of memorization.
The results are as follow:
|5 years old||One day in 15 seconds|
Day and night cycle
|Kids understand that the earth turns around the sun.|
|All ages||Friendly dynosaurus||Students re-calibrate their perception of scale - animals and vegetation.|
|10 and 15 years old||In the space|
The solar system
|Students re-calibrate their perception of scale, planet rotation, and gravity.|
|10 and 15 years old||Cimate and vegetation||Students memorizes a multitude of visual details highlighting the different between arid, tropical, cold and Mediterranean environments.|
The more noticeable results where the fact that after a week, the students still talk with passion about their experiences, and ask questions surrounding the topic they was exposed to. We can confirm an increase in overall student's engagement.
We selected the hardware and built a few VR environments and avatars, and enabled live communication:
- The VR headsets we selected are Oculus Rift DK2, connected to high end PC gaming laptops. Since short experiences gives great results, only few sets are required for a school.
- The experience apps are built with Unity 3D and connected to Classroom Browser via a home made asset.
- The software blocks to synchronize the virtual experiences are provided by the EXO U's platform embedded in the free Classroom Browser app.
We can confirm how rapidly students are able to memorize and understand concepts with a dedicated VR experience.
- Results are undoubtedly immediate and durable for all ages.
- Short experiments mean that today technology is healthy enough
- A school only needs a few VR headsets with computers to bring VR in the classroom.
For education, the technology is more ready than what we expected.