Getting Started with Fulldive VR and Sites in VR in the Classroom
Flora D. Floris is a senior lecturer at Petra Christian University, Indonesia. Her main interests include language teacher professional development, teaching English as an International Language, and technology-enhanced language learning.
Evelyn Listiyani is a graduate of the English Department of Petra Christian University. She is interested to try out various teaching activities to cater different learning styles.
Wina Kristian is a graduate of the English Department of Petra Christian University. She believes that the use of technology will bring pedagogical benefits for both teachers and students.
Virtual reality (VR) is defined as “an immersive computer-enabled technology that replicates an environment and allows a simulation of the user to be present and interact in that environment.” (Lloyd, Rogerson, & Stead, 2017, p. 222). Although it has been used to support flight simulators for decades, VR is still a relatively new technology in language education.
Though some studies such as the ones done by Lee and Wong (2008) and Hentsch (2018) have described VR as a useful technology that aids student learning by experiencing subject matters or points of discussion through the visualization of information, VR has not yet been widely taken up in language education. According to Bonner & Reinders (2018), many teachers are still reluctant to incorporate VR technology into their classes.
In order to encourage more teachers to experiment with VR, this paper presents some practical ideas on how to integrate this particular technology into everyday English language classrooms. Each of the activities has been developed with high-school or university age students in mind; and for practical reason, all activities are based on currently available, free and easy-to-use VR applications, i.e. Sites in VR and Fulldive VR. All suggested activities below can be done without specialised technical skills. Before introducing some practical ideas for teachers to try out, the paper will present brief information related to Sites in VR and Fulldive VR.
Overview: Sites in VR and Fulldive VR
Sites in VR includes a series of virtual tours from all over the world, including some museums, churches, modern cities, historical sites, and other interesting places. The tour also enables the users experience the outer space. The app is easy to use as it includes thousands of high quality 360° panoramic images and videos, and automatically adjusts the setting of the users’ smartphone for the VR headset model (Anonymous, 2016).
Fulldive VR labels itself a VR navigation platform. The app allows the users to experience 3D videos and images, play VR games, and find & view various VR content from around the web. Furthermore, the app allows the users to share the VR experience and content on social networks, e.g. YouTube and Facebook (Anonymous, 2018).
Suggested activity #1
- Prior to this class, the teacher discussed the format and an example of descriptive writing.
- On the D-day, the teacher asks the students to put on their VR headset and choose one place or building that is provided in the application (Sites in VR or Fulldive VR).
- The students are asked to describe the chosen place or building.
- Next, they are asked to submit their writing.
- An alternative activity will be to ask the students read the description, record their reading, and submit the file to the teacher.
- Those who use Fulldive VR might be asked to share their works via social media.
Suggested activity #2
- The teacher asks the students to develop a holiday plan in one of the locations available on their VR application.
- The students are then asked to submit their plan; or read and record their plan and submit the recording to the teacher.
- An alternative will be to ask the students develop a short story related to the characters’ holiday in one of the available places.
- Again, those who use Fulldive VR might be asked to share their works via social media.
Suggested activity #3
- The teacher asks the students to visit a big theme park, or the highest mountain in a particular country, or the outer space. The aim is to let the students experience something that they have never had before.
- Afterwards, the teacher and the students discuss the experiences and the feelings that the students got during their VR time.
- The students are then asked to produce a poster promoting the place they have just visited.
- An alternative activity will be to ask the students write down their experience in using VR application to visit the park, the mountain, or the outer space.
Suggested activity #4
- Before the D-day, the teacher selects some places or locations available on the VR application and assigns the students to work in small groups
- Each group is assigned to become the tour guide of a particular place or location.
- The tour guide is responsible for accompanying their guests or visitors and for providing all information related to the assigned place/location. Therefore, before the D-day, each group needs to research all of the information related to the assigned particular place/location.
- On the D-day, the tour guide leads their classmates, who act as their guest visitors, to be immersed in the selected environment.
Suggested activity #5
- The following activity works with Fulldive VR application.
- Prior to the class, the students are asked to take pictures of their favorite or interesting objects and put the images in the app’s photo gallery.
- On the D-day, the students are asked to describe each other’s VR images.
Compared to other learning tools, VR has the unique ability to allow students to engage with educational content in a whole new way, to become fully present and focused in a three-dimensional virtual world where they can interact and feel the surrounding environment. As many studies have shown the inclusion of VR into the English classroom enables both teachers and students to learn with fun and interactive experiences. Hopefully this short article will inspire teachers to try teaching using VR technology in their English classroom.
Anonymous (2016) Sites in VR: See the world as if you were there. Retrieved from http://www.sitesinvr.com/
Anonymous (2018) Fulldive VR. Retrieved from https://vr.fulldive.com/
Bonner, E., & Reinders, H. (2018). Augmented and virtual reality in the language classroom: Practical ideas. Teaching English with Technology, 18 (3), 33-53.
Hentsch, C. (2018). Virtual Reality in Education: How VR can be Beneficial to the Classroom. Retrieved from https://edtechtimes.com/2018/02/09.
Lee, E. A. L., & Wong, K. W. (2008). A review of using virtual reality for learning. Transactions on Edutainment, 1, 231–241.
Lloyd, A., Rogerson, S., & Stead, G. (2017). Imagining the potential for using virtual reality technologies in language learning. In M. Carrier, R. M. Damerow, & K. M. Bailey (Eds.), Digital language learning and teaching: Research, theory, and practice (pp. 222-234). New York: Routledge.
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