Oculus VR has radically redifined digital entertainment and now they expect to make a similar splash in the field of education. On Tuesday they announced a pilot program to expand the use of virtual reality in educational institutions. Oculus plans to partner up and distribute VR headsets to schools, libraries and museums in Japan, Taiwan and Seattle.
The pilot program will kick off by training educators to use VR for teaching. Next they will gather information and log any potential issues as each location rolls out their individual program. Finally, they will chat with educators about any lessons they learned or successes they may have had. Through this Oculus hopes to gain a better understanding of how they can use VR for learning as well as collaboration. The data they recieve will be used by Oculus team members to launch future programs and products.
Each of the test locations will have a unique set of tasks covering different challenges.
Oculus will partner with Seattle Public Schools to pilot a VR creation class. Students and teachers from Ballard High School and Franklin High School will work together to develop VR content. It will be up to these students to create their own VR experience and integrate that technology into their coursework.
Oculus will be working with the Taiwan Internet and E-Commerce Association. The plan is to distribute Oculus Rift & Oculus Go headsets to various public libraries and museums. This will allow everyday citizens to experience the VR technology firsthand. Much like Seattle, these institutions will be tasked with uncovering the best way to use the VR platform within their environment. Some art museums are already exploring the use of apps like Quill & Oculus Medium as an immersive creation tool for aspiring artists.
Oculus will team up with educators and use the headsets for long distance learning. Students in remote areas of the country will connect with teachers and local classrooms through VR. This is a great opportunity to provide every student access to coursework and educational materials, regardless of their physical location.
Arming these institutions with the right tools will be paramount to the success of the pilot program. For this reason Oculus has launched 3 new VR experiences centered around science, history and culture. The first of these experiences is Breaking Boundaries In Science, an interactive celebration of history’s most influential women. The second is Titanic VR, where students can learn about the sinking of the Titanic and dive through the shipwreck. The final experience is Hoover Dam: Industrial VR, where players can take a journey through the Hoover Dam exploring its inner workings. All of these titles are currently available in the Oculus store and should aid in improving technology in the classroom.