VR for teaching

You can go to the Rijksmuseum with the whole class to see De Nachtwacht. For many teachers is it an impressive experience, for most students it is just a trip to Amsterdam that they would rather spend in a coffee shop or the “Red Light District”. Show them in advance the official VR app from the Rijksmuseum about the creation of this famous painting, and they will look at the result with much more attention.

In this 360 video you are personally addressed by Rembrandt van Rijn, and you discover that the clients were not at all satisfied with the dark scene that Rembrandt painted at the time. The story behind the painting is at least as interesting as the result. VR teaching goes beyond learning, it allows the students to experience the world in a completely new way.

Not only seeing but also experiencing

The Rembrandt app is a good example of the impact that 360 video has on the viewer. In a regular documentary about the creation of De Nachtwacht you can learn everything about the technique, the brush strokes and the people on the canvas. In the video you seem to be in the studio yourself, Rembrandt even gives you a compliment about your appearance. The 3D display in VR glasses completes the experience.

Interactive experiences arouse emotions

A completely different VR app for learning purposes is the app of the Anne Frank house. We all know the story of the girl who had to hide behind the walls of a canal house in Amsterdam, but to walk around there yourself is an experience that you will not forget.

In contrast to the video about Rembrandt van Rijn, the tour through the Anne Frank house is an interactive presentation in which you can virtually walk through the location. In addition, excerpts from the diary are read aloud. This gives a valuable context to the book that cannot be described with conventional learning materials.

Virtual reality as a supported learning tool

During the First World War British soldiers were not allowed to write letters to the home front, they received multiple choice postcards on which they could tick their message. In this way they could prevent spy secret codes in letters home.

In an impressive virtual reality app from the BBC you not only discover how this process went, you also get to see authentic scans of these cards in a three-dimensional environment.

At one point they fly with hundreds planes at the same time around the head of the spectator. These types of presentations provide support for existing teaching materials, with full color 3D images in 360 degrees of historical events that, in the most favorable case, we only know from grainy black and white photos.

VR for teaching offers limitless possibilities

Felix & Paul Studios is one of the most influential documentary producers in VR. They already showed refugees in a way that you will not forget soon.

They also portrayed NBA basketball which brought a completely different impact. Former President Obama also contributed to a documentary about America’s most beautiful forests.

In a recent production, the preparation of astronauts at NASA is followed until the launch. Standard documentaries are by definition distant, you look at a flat screen at a considerable distance from your eyes.

But when this video is wrapped around you like a sphere, and you are bombarded with images and sound from all sides, then the message comes in both ways.

Why virtual reality is unique within educational learning resources

Textbooks have a specific function, that will not change quickly. We only switch from paper to tablets. Teachers can transfer teaching material to a new generation so that the knowledge of society is maintained.

Virtual reality for teaching brings past, present and future to the classroom, and students will not only learn something new, but also create a commitment to the topic that no other medium can achieve.