Choosing the best VR platform for an educational app
This is an idea of VR education application that could help bored students and people with learning disabilities and desorders to learn through an innovative, dynamic and fun experience.
The concept behind the app is make an education experience in VR that is engaging and interesting, betting in a method that is interactive rather than a tedious monologue. The area of knowledge is Philosophy and the interaction will occur with clicks in objects that are placed in a museum. When an object is clicked the user is teleported to a scene in a country and time period: An agora in the Ancient Greece with Plato, an apple orchard* in UK with Isaac Newton and Nietzsche's bedroom in Sils Maria are some scenes. The philosopher narrates a lesson and the user have to click the right answer in a kind of quiz presented in a card with 4 options. If the student succeeds he receives an animation telling him a curiosity about the theme or the philosopher. Then he is teleported to the menu and can travel to other places.
George is an U.S 16 year old high school student that wants to be an electrical engineer. He is a geek and loves to read about technology, create and experiment new techs. In the free time he plays PS4 and PC games. Being a tech enthusiast he have some experience in VR using Cardboard and Gear VR. He does not like Philosophy classes and think they are very boring.
Some questions on search of the right platform
How accessible would each VR platform be to your target student in terms of price? Take into account location, age, and income.
The student depends on the money of their parents and already have Cardboard and Gear VR. Maybe the parents wouldn't agree with the idea to buy a new device, so the use of the already purchased devices is the best choice.
How interactive does your lesson need to be? For example, do I need to pick things up or could I get away with just looking at objects?
The interactivity needs only the click input for navigate through the menu and scenes.
How realistic do your visuals need to be in order to teach? For example, could I use 2D images and videos in a 3D Environment or do you need high poly 3D models.
More immersion is always better, because the student can feel the experience with more excitement. But the intent of the experience is teach philosophy trough a dynamic way, so it's possible to achieve the goal with low poly images as required by Cardboard limitation of 50–100k poly count per scene.
Does my student need to feel like a participant in the experience or can they be a passive viewer? Could they be both?
I think the educational experience is always active, even when the student is "just" listening/viewing the animation. Because he needs to pay attention and think along the teacher. Also, in the app there's the quiz with multiple choices, where the user have to think and remember to choose the right one.
Given the answers above, what are potential platforms you could use for your experience?
The Cardboard is accessible for most students and can be used in many smartphones. Use Vive or Rift would be amazing because the experience would be more immersive, but when thinking in education we need to consider all the economic classes.
Considerations about the used technology
How would Augmented Reality better help teach your experience?
I think AR would add in the experience trough the use of QR codes in books that when read would trigger an animation with additional informations about the theme.
How could eye tracking help you better tailor your experience to your students?
Eye tracking could help me in statistics about the use of the app. For example, what was the most used scene, how they explore the environment and where the students look during the animations.
How would better Haptics better teach your experience?
Better haptics would be great in some topics. For example, when discussing the senses and physics.
How important is graphical fidelity to your experience?
The graphical fidelity is not a very important piece for the learning process. A better graphics could entertain more, but not teach more.
How critical is it that your target student receives this training within the next two years?
There's not about the chronological time (2018–2020), but there's about a one or thousands of students that can learn a class that they are not interested, don't understand or don't like because the method is not appropriate for them. School have been a torture for many people because they can’t learn with the default methods. Interactive education could help students in the process of find a subject of interest, learn fields that could be boring and monotonous in the traditional way of teach and rescue their potential to change the world. The sooner the better!
*There's no evidence that the famous story of the apple happened with Sir Isaac Newton