Using the ratings generated by the opinions of the Barberton High School VR Team, we are pleased to share how we rated some VR Apps for Education. These ratings are done after exhaustive testing by the student team. The categories are:
Motion – many people experience some sort of motion sickness, whether from car rides, airplanes, or roller coasters. These effects are also present in VR depending on the nature of the experience.
Interactivity – some VR experiences are known as “ghost stories”, meaning the user is nothing more than an audience member seeing what the developer wants them to see. Full interactive 3D VR allows the user to interact with their environment and dictate the course of events.
Usability – How easy is it to use the application? Is there an intuitiveness to the controls or would a significant amount of instruction be necessary to help the user navigate the experience?
Content – There are many VR applications touted as “educational”, but the amount of the content is very shallow or non-existent. The students rate the app based on its educational value.
Audio – We have found that some audio is necessary for narrating or enhancing the experience, while other experiences have audio that is distracting or difficult to discern.
Stability – We are running the software on above average gaming laptops that are connected to a school wireless network. Does the application run smoothly at all times or is it prone to crashing?
Overall – We take the average rating of the six categories to assign an overall rating.
Description – Organon3D is a VR experience that is focused on identifying and locating anatomical features. It is a highly detailed program that offers the ability to hide muscles, connective tissue, cartilage, or bones to provide a better view of individual features.
Description – Wonderful You is an experience in VR with a small amount of interaction. The user is taken on a journey through the various sensory development stages of a fetus. Each of the 5 senses is explored individually with the help of stimulating graphics and visual effects.
Hoover Dam VR
Description – Hoover Dam VR is a wonderful VR experience. It opens with an aerial view of the Hoover Dam. A narrator discusses a little of the history and location. The user is then taken on a tour of the parts of the dam and how it produces hydro-electric energy. There is a separate mode that allows the user to explore and learn about the workings of the generators and turbines. The app is interactive and allows the audio to be paused, rewound, or fast forwarded.
Discovering Space 2 VR
Description – Discovering Space 2 is an exceptional VR experience where user is given two options: take guided tours or explore the Solar System on their own. The app allows the user to take the controls of a space ship and experience the vastness, remoteness, and enormity of space. The encounter is narrated to provide the educational content about the sun, planets, and moons. This is a fantastic app to enhance education using VR.
eXperience Color Blindness
Description – eXperience: Color Blindness is a wonderful app that uses a combination of information and activities to illustrate the effects of color blindness. Users experience the main types of color blindness and perform typical daily activities with filters that imitate each one. It is a great app to reinforce genetic principles while administering “hands-on” content. The app concludes with a test to provide the user with feedback regarding their own potential color blindness deficiencies.
Anne Frank House VR
Description – This VR experience where the user has two options. One is to allow the narrator to take the user through a “story mode” of a computer-generated version of the Anne Frank House. The second option allows the user to choose “tour mode” where they are able to navigate the house independently. Both options provide a narrated guide and quotes from her diary, while the fully guided tour offers more detail and information.
The Body VR
Description – The Body VR is a VR experience with a small amount of interaction. The user is taken on a journey aboard a vessel through the bloodstream and into a cell. The graphics are visually stimulating and the information is given by a narrator. There are seven sections to this experience that lasts a little less than 12 minutes.
The Raven VR
Description – The Raven is an audio visual VR experience based on “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. The user is in a room with artistic and musical interpretations of the poem while a narrator takes them through Poe’s masterpiece. This app attempts to provide a multi-sensory experience to enhance the understanding of this famous literary work.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
On the surface, this may seem like a strange VR app choice for education. Purchase it, get a friend, and play it a few times. It won’t take long to see the benefits. This game is challenging and teaches the necessity for effective communication between partners. It emphasizes focus, communication, the importance of following written directions, and the need to convey ideas quickly and accurately.
Oceans We Make
This app is a guided experience, what some might classify as “on the rails”. It explores and provides an honest look at the pollution issues we face in regards to our oceans. The human impact is undeniable and alarming. The app takes the user through a relatively short journey beneath the surface of the ocean to show just how big the problem is we face. The user is challenged to collect as many pieces of trash during the journey and a score is given at the end. It gives a great basis for further discussion as a small group or entire class.
Find a full list of our product reviews and recommendations for education here.
We will be adding to the list of ratings for VR apps for education. Contact us with questions or requests.
Learn how to setup your own VR program by checking out our Toolkit for Educators: Envision Virtual Reality.