Reality Bytes

Guest blog by Kim Murphree.

Great Scott! The future really kind of is now.  Taking a tour of the Palace of Versailles in an hour- no problem, 3Dimensional interactive model of a volcano- child’s play, come face-to-face with a sea turtle without leaving 3rd Block- so easy!  Augmented and Virtual reality allow for all of those things with an ease, simplicity, and accessibility that had never been available before now and it is COOL!  

Augmented and Virtual Reality create an environment that brings content to life in ways teachers have never thought possible.  Just for reference sake; augmented reality merges computer-generated graphics or video on top of the real world we see before us- while virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences, which can include sight, sound and touch.  

But the true impact and learning sustainability comes when the “Cool is Connected to Content”.  I know, I know it sounds crazy but all that coolness can become just fluff without a real deep connection to your content.  The idea of mixed reality has been around for a long time, and we have seen it in advertisements, movies, and social media; but the implications for education are so simple and the returns so valuable that it behooves us as educators to explore its possibilities.  

When we think about AR/VR in education the first question is will it work?  Then when you analyze the modalities that mixed reality integrates the answer is a resounding yes.  AR/VR brings together what educators know brings deeper learning and what students require for successful achievement.  The learning takes place by aligning both educational theory such as the 4C’s with an engaging, fun, and creative environment that motivates students to aim higher.

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Mixed Reality (AR/VR) lessons impact students by giving a hands-on, multiple perspective experience that gives those learners of the future the personal focus that they inherently gravitate towards.

As for which apps are great for these, I can only give my personal experience, and narrowing it down it tough.  There are many that are content specific, as well as focused more on either upper or lower grade level students.  However, I will endeavor to do my best. Please, keep in mind these are not ranked in any way and for sure this list is not exhaustive.  In addition, especially in virtual reality land don’t get so hung up on having a cardboard, viewmaster, vive etc. many applications are compatible with those viewers but they are not dependent.

Augmented Reality Virtual Reality
Quiver: interactive coloring pages in360Tube: 360 degree videos covering a wide range of topics
ZooKazam: 3D animals with scientific facts Spotlight Stories: interactive stories for all levels
AugThat: multi-subject AR with interaction Discovery VR: discovery  channel expeditions with 360 video
Elements 4D: 4 dimensional interactive blocks of the elements of the periodic table 360 Cities: virtual tours of cities from around the world
Guinness World Records: interactive AR with facts from the Guinness Books (13,14,15) CoolTour: tour famous cities and landmarks from around the world in 360
Flashcard VR: works with quizlet in which you create an interactive flashcard game

I hope my ramblings on this topic were at least a bit helpful.  Please, feel free to contact  or tweet me with additional questions or to chat about this subject. I would love to help you get started or to advance where you already are in this endeavor.  Happy viewing!

Thank you to Kim for sharing her knowledge.  Here is her contact information.

Kim Murphree    @murphree_kim


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