Expand Beyond the Textbook with AR/VR in Homeschools
by Marci Goodwin, The Homeschool Scientist
If you want a kid to be bored and uninterested in a subject, give them a dry, boring textbook. If you want them to have fun, understand, and want to learn more, let them experience a subject!
For most kids, hands-on and experiential learning help them better understand and retain information. That might be doing a science experiment to better understand a concept, visiting a museum to see a piece of art up close, or using manipulatives to understand numbers.
As homeschool parents, we have a lots opportunity to give our kids those types of experiences. My kids think it’s kind of weird when we have a day of just reading a textbook without some sort of hands-on activity!
But, it is a challenge to get hands-on when studying certain subjects. How do you give kids experience with things like planets, the organs of the human body, or exotic ecosystems?
Fortunately, technology has put almost everything at our fingertips. Using the internet, we can find information about anything. Using virtual reality, we can go anywhere. Using augmented reality, we can bring anything right to us wherever we are.
While the internet is easily accessed and relatively affordable to most of us, virtual and augmented reality has always seemed like a far off, future technology too complicated and expensive for the average homeschool family to use. Well, that was until MERGE.
Using Virtual Reality In Homeschool
MERGE allows homeschool parents to give their children virtual, hands-on, educational experiences that they might not have been able to have any other way. Plus, it is so fun!
When our MERGE Cube and Goggles came in the mail, my kids got to the box first. Within minutes, my daughter was experiencing a game in augmented reality. She downloaded a game app and used the cube to move a ball through a maze. Soon, my kids were fighting over it…and they are teens!
After spending some time playing a game or two, we downloaded the Mr. Body app. Within minutes, we were moving through the human body, holding organs in our hands, and learning more about them.
We have studied human anatomy and organs in the past. We learned their names and functions, but that was about as deep as we went. It wasn’t until we held the organs in our hands using the MERGE Cube that we began to really think about the structure of the organs and their actual location in the body in relation to other organs.
As we discussed the function of each organ, we discussed how their shapes and location are important. For instance, from viewing a diagram of a heart in a textbook, we can get an idea that the atria are the chambers on top of the heart and the ventricles are on the bottom. We can, also see that the aorta and pulmonary vein attach the top of the heart.
The MERGE cube and the Mr. Body app allow the heart to be held in the hand and rotated so that the exact location of the aorta and pulmonary vein can be seen along with the relative size and thickness of the heart chambers.
Now, I am planning a follow-up organ study where we really get into learning more about the structure of the organs and how the structure relates to function. We will use the Mr. Body app and the MERGE Cube to observe and manipulate the organs.
I want the kids to think about how the organs are shaped, where the veins, arteries, and ducts are located, and why. It will be an interesting research and critical thinking project for the kids.
More MERGE Apps For Homeschool
You can design your own virtual reality homeschool lesson with MERGE. Use the MERGE Cube and one of the many available apps that allow kids to do things like explore far off ecosystems, travel through space, go on a dinosaur dig, and visit tons of other interesting places.
New apps are being added all the time that cover a wide range of topics. These could be used to enhance a subject already being studied or spark an interest that leads you and your kids into learning about something entirely new!
About Marci Goodwin, The Homeschool Scientist
Marci Goodwin’s goal is to take the fear out of and put the fun into homeschool science. Look around her site for lots of science information, experiments, curriculum help, and just plain geeky fun.