By now, every professional from every industry has felt the effects of COVID-19. However, this period of time has been particularly challenging for working professionals with children. With schools nearing their second month of being shut down, many parents and caregivers have had to navigate staying productive at work and connected to their team while simultaneously explaining algebra to their kids. And while teachers are trying their best to design their curriculum to accommodate the new virtual domain of learning, chances are that children find it much more difficult staying focused while doing school at home.
One reason why VR has fantastic applications in both business and education is its ability to grab the user’s attention. While virtual reality still seems like relatively new technology to most people, the excitement people feel coupled with how real and tangible VR experiences can be is enough to keep users engaged. The same can be applied with education. Instead of learning about the Amazon rainforest out of a textbook, VR education takes the user on a journey to experience the ecosystem for themselves. People, especially children, are far more captivated and retain more information when they have experienced it. So whether you’re looking for activities to supplement your child’s virtual education or you’re just running out of ideas on how to keep your child preoccupied, here are 4 fantastic VR educational experiences they can check out today.
Samsung VR Mini Documentaries
There are so many well-produced educational documentaries to choose from. Cult classics like Planet Earth and the Blue Planet are a perfect blend of being informational as well as visually stunning. However, docuseries can easily range from half an hour to an hour and beyond. And if your child isn’t particularly interested in the natural world, the episodes can quickly lose their interest.
Samsung has recently compiled a variety of VR documentaries that are both short yet effective and completely free of charge. From being immersed and learning about different cultures to diving into the deep sea to encounter creatures big and small, these immersive mini documentaries are sure to keep your child engaged while still teaching them something new. And while they aren’t narrated by the infamous natural world expert David Attenbrough, their videos aren’t hosted by just anyone. From one of the most well known primatologists, Jane Gooddall, to award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, these short but sweet videos are filled with fascinating information from a star-studded cast.
BBC Earth: Micro Kingdoms
Available on Magic Leap, BBC’s virtual series gives viewers a glimpse into the amazingly intricate world of arachnids. Arachnids are a class of insects that refer to joint-legged invertebrate animals, such as spiders, scorpions, and mites. While these insects certainly get a bad reputation from horror movies and personal experience, arachnids are extraordinary creatures that have unique characteristics that help them thrive and survive.
Narrated by the one and only Stephen Fry, The Micro Kingdom: Senses series differs from regular documentaries as it is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Rather than flying to different locations and filming the specific species, BBC was able to generate and recreate the animal’s behaviour and how they would react in the real world. Viewers will be able to get up close and follow animals like a Leafcutter ant colony to experience what exactly sets them apart from the other species. Through the use of advanced technologies like AI and VR, creators were able to go beyond the “conventional natural history storytelling” to provide an unforgettable educational experience to their audience.
Volcanoes National Park
Whether baking soda and vinegar comes to mind or flowing molten lava, most people when they think of Hawai’i envision sun, beaches, and volcanoes. Hawai’i is home to some of the most infamous and active volcanoes on the planet. The Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located on the Big Island where visitors get to experience a completely unique park experience. While it’s not like heading to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park offers one of the most unforgettable experiences.
While we can’t physically experience everything the park has to offer, their virtual tour allows viewers to learn the ins and outs of volcanoes. From travelling inside lava tubes - also known as the veins of a volcano - to getting an aerial view of an active volcano, this ranger-led tour is suitable for all ages and is very easy to understand and follow. This 360-degree experience is absolutely fascinating, extremely informative, and does a great job at capturing the viewer’s attention and sustaining it throughout the full tour.
Travel the World Virtually
Visiting different countries and learning about their culture and customs can be one of the most educational experiences anyone can have. But in our current situation, most people have had to take a raincheck on family vacations to abide by government regulations. And while virtual tours cannot replace physically being there, these stunning experiences are incredible substitutes especially during times when they’re out of reach.
Travel Zoo has compiled 20 amazing virtual attractions that you can experience all from the comfort of your own home. From standing in the remarkable Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City to witnessing the gorgeous blue-green hues of the Northern Lights in Manitoba, Canada, there plenty of VR education programs that could peak your child’s interest. Whether it be seeing natural wonders like the Florida Keys or exploring the Taj Mahal, one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites, give your child the opportunity to roam the best the world has to offer.
VR Education - Entertaining While Informative
The beauty of educational VR applications is that it introduces another way of learning valuable information. When the material we are learning isn’t relatable or difficult to comprehend, it takes more time and effort to fully grasp the concepts. However, VR breaks this barrier down by transporting the users into the environment to make connections and form experiences that will be much more memorable when recalling information at a later time. So as you and your family continue navigating this novel time together, we hope that the resources we shared can educate or at least keep you all entertained while learning something new.
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