Google Virtual Reality Academy at EARCOS 2017 (Part 1)

Greetings from Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu, and the EARCOS 2017 Teacher's Conference!
Greetings from Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu, and the EARCOS 2017 Teacher’s Conference!

What began as a relatively subdued morning of training that included interesting but expected icebreakers soon turned into a day in which our eyes were popping out of our skulls here in friendly Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo at the EARCOS 2017 Teacher’s Conference.

Welcome to the Google Virtual Reality Academy with Jay Atwood from the EdTechTeam!

Atwood primed the educator-laced hall with a sequence of Four Corners discussions aimed at gauging our preexisting perceptions of virtual reality, then raced through the history of this long developing technology, from it’s relatively primitive beginnings in military and NASA simulators, to the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard of today.

Then came the foray into the unknown for many of us.

It all began with a box…a little CARDBOARD box…

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Such an innocent box.

Once the Cardboard was out of the BOX, we popped our smart phones in and started to explore, and the pro-tips from some of the more experienced teachers began to drop.

*Note: At the behest of Atwood, we had all loaded the following apps already onto our phones: Google Expeditions, Google Cardboard, Google Streetview, YouTube, and Google Cardboard Camera.

Richard from Jakarta "Intercultural" School gave some fantastic advice for how to strengthen and adolescent-proof these humble Cardboards...
One teacher gave some fantastic advice for how to strengthen and adolescent-proof these humble Cardboards…with popsicle sticks and clear plastic “grease guards”! Also, fall risk (phone may fall out – if you have not yet realised the purpose of the rubber band.)
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Putting the virtual reality into Cardboard.

When I loaded up the Google Cardboard app, slipped my iPhone 5 into the flap, and put the head set on…this was the scene I initially saw that Google has created as a demo, albeit 3D due to the split lenses.

*Spoiler alert!?!?

False alarm…I have not given away any of the best details of this first demo virtual reality ride. Check it out yourself!

Being teachers, we did not just “tinker” with this tech…we recorded our findings in a tinkering Google Doc!

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Sketchnotes of this half of the Google VR Academy Session

Check in later today for part 2 of this post in which I will discuss how Google Expeditions, Google Cardboard Camera, and other apps work with the Google Cardboard apparatus. I’m also going to give my basic conclusions about what I loved about Google Virtual Reality, potential places for development, possible ways to use the technology in classrooms now, and questions I have!

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