Demystifying virtual reality in the classroom

The educational team of the Laval School Services Center presents the Extended Reality website, which contains a multitude of resources demonstrating that it is possible to carry out very simple virtual reality projects with students.

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ATTENTION! The English translation is automated - Errors (sometimes hilarious!) can creep in! ;)

Virtual reality is not science fiction! Very simple projects can be done from a mobile device and students will be captivated. The pedagogical team of the Center de services scolaire de Laval presents the website for this purpose. Extended reality, which contains a multitude of resources.

“When we talk about virtual reality, it can seem confusing. However, this technology offers interesting possibilities for the class and it is possible to start with very simple projects. This is the message that Alexandra Coutlée and Patrick Fleury, both RECIT advisers at the Laval School Service Center, wanted to convey during a conference presented as part of the last Digital Education Summit.

According to them, there are many reasons to experience virtual reality in the classroom: remote site visits, interaction with the environment, immersive remote collaboration, construction of virtual objects, games and experimentation are among the possibilities. These activities help develop new skills, stimulate imagination and creativity, and engage students in their learning.

Virtual or augmented reality

On the website Extended reality, they have brought together many resources to support teachers in carrying out virtual reality projects. Augmented and mixed reality resources will eventually be added.

As a reminder, the virtual reality is the immersion in a 3D environment using a virtual reality headset (this can be done from a smart phone). The augmented reality as for it is the superposition of a digital content on the real environment, using a mobile support (tablet / smart phone). 

Since these are necessary, a section of the site Extended reality presents the devices allowing to experience virtual reality. It is also possible to test your device to find out if it is compatible. It is important to take this test, especially if students are asked to bring their personal devices.

Consumption or creation

For Alexandra and Patrick, virtual reality can be embodied in four types of activities with the students, ranging from the simplest to the most immersive and engaging. They presented examples of learning situations to be carried out for each of them.

1- Passive consumption 

We look, we witness something.

Eg: experiencing life in an isolation cell in prison, being in the shoes of a homeless person.

2- Interactive consumption

We interact with the environment.

Ex .: being blind and learning to recognize one's immediate environment.

3- Fixed creation

We create spherical images or videos.

Ex .: take 360-degree photos with Google Street, create an image-based crime scene, reproduce a scene from a novel or a play.

4- Interactive creation

We create spherical images or videos by adding elements of interaction.

Eg: take a photo and add information points to it, create a virtual tour of the school.

Creations with spherical images or videos can be placed on the site, which accommodates this type of file and allows you to interact with them afterwards. The free platform also allows you to create immersive tours.

A list of virtual reality experiences is featured on the website. It is possible to search for activities, in particular by type of device used and by cost.

Have you experienced virtual reality in the classroom? Share your findings with us!

To go further, read or re-read our files on: 

Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
3- Exploit the potential of digital technology for learning

To see the Framework.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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