There are still limited options available for fully immersive and interactive VR on the consumer market. Of those that were looked at, HTC VIVE offered the richest experience with the best 360' tracking at room scale.
This headset is the closest we can get right now to a Star Trek-style holodeck. -- GEARBRAIN.COM
Arts Classes - Google Tilt Brush
As the VR equipment has been on tour, the focus has been on placing it in secondary school visual Arts classes throughout the RCDSB. Typically, all students are given an opportunity to try and experiment in the space during class time and then a few will really start to develop fine works of art beyond the initial introduction. During the class time, students are able to see what is being done in Tilt Brush by viewing the developing work being projected to a nearby wall. This allows for more immediate feedback from teachers and peers while the work is being created. Indeed, students have been able to collaborate on elaborate artworks this way.
Life Skills Class - Google Tilt Brush
One of the most interesting applications for VR and an area that some preliminary research has already been done is in the area of Special Education. So far, the available research (Ludlow, 2015) suggests that the focus has been on experiencing calming environments such as a virtual tropical beach setting, or job preparation through simulated work. Google Tilt Brush enabled the Life Skills students at MVD an opportunity to move beyond passive consumption and build on established visual art skills in the virtual space. It really didn't take long for students to fully understand the basic functionality of Tilt Brush - selecting brush type, colour, and size and moving around the 3D space to build their artwork.
Geography Class - Google Earth VR
A Geography class at MVD had an opportunity to explore the world in Google Earth VR. Students chose locations around the world that highlighted current geographic issues and visited those locations in the virtual environment. Students were able to experience cities, landforms, scale, and gain a geographic sense like never before. Because there is not a 'search' function built in, students must actually navigate to chosen locations - this lead to an amazing collaboration with students outside the headset. Outside students were able to search for and communicate to the VR user how to successfully navigate around the world, encouraging descriptive use of geographic language, both political and natural features, and enhance directional vocabulary.
Creating New Worlds
A student at MVD spent 5 hours creating this intricately detailed world. As a prospective post-secondary Arts students, this work can be submitted as part of a digital portfolio. All elements of this work were created by the student, right down to the delicate work of creating individual leaves and blades of grass.
Two FHS students collaborated on this piece over the course of a few days. Each contributed to the various elements they had discussed before entering the VR environment. By following along on the projected screen, they were able to provide immediate feedback and build on each others creativity.