While games may be getting all the attention right now within the virtual reality space, there are so many other verticals in which the technology will likely have an impact over the coming years. Once such vertical is the education space, all the way from kindergarten up until college. Let’s face it, the best way to thoroughly educate both children and adults is to make learning fun, interesting and interactive. Virtual reality can do all of that and then some, giving educators the necessary tools to excel within their field.
Before VR education is able to go mainstream, however, interesting, interactive, high-quality content is required, and that’s just what one small company called ThingLink is out to do. In fact, this morning they have officially rolled out their VR education app, and I have to say it’s quite impressive. The application, currently available on iOS for just $4.99, is targeted towards elementary-aged students, taking them on virtual field trips via 360-degree videos and images. Students can be transported to places like the French Alps, the archipelago of northern Australia, the Jungle and more. When students look around, they are able to spot additional links within their field of vision, which when selected unlock further information about the environment they are within.
“Virtual reality can take students to places they could only dream of visiting, but it is also an open canvas for students to imagine and build new worlds and experiences. We are making it possible for schools to use virtual reality as an engaging learning platform,” says ThingLink’s founder and CEO Ulla Engestrom.
By combining audio, 360-degree video and images ThingLink is able to create a truly immersive learning environment. While the first lessons are created by the ThingLink team, the company hopes to eventually open up the platform so that others can submit their own VR education content for the entire ThingLink community to explore.
“Audio annotations work wonderfully in a mobile VR environment, adding depth to the overall experience of the space. For example, in VR Lessons we added the sound of the wind in the background of an image from the Norwegian tundra, and an owl howling in the image of a cold winter forest in Finland. In annotations we are using both human and computer voiced files, and students can vote which voice they like the best,” says Engestrom.
While the application is not yet available for Android, it seems likely that the company will eventually roll it out for non-iPhone educators. After all, there is already a regular non-VR ThingLink application available at the Google Play store. Also one must note that a VR headset that’s compatible with Apple’s iPhone is required if one wishes to truly engage in the immersiveness of these VR lessons. We’d recommend the Breett VR Glasses, which are available for just $26.99. Let us know if you have tried out the ThingLink app and what your thoughts were in the VR Education forum on VRTalk.com.