The idea of WebVR is one which is primed to catch hold, as the technology around it is now catching up. For this reason, Veative has partnered with UNICEF to bring out an open-source version of WebVR, to encourage students and teachers around the world to engage with, and improve, educational content which may be available for VR. Being open-source enables learners across the world to freely explore how a VR module is made, and then to use their technical skills and creativity to take it to another place.
So what is WebVR and how does this work? WebVR is an application that allows for the streaming of VR content through a browser, such as Chrome. It incorporates an API (Application Programming Interface), which is simply software that gets in the middle and allows two applications to talk to each other. Some of what needs to be communicated include the type of device, what it can do, its position and orientation, and ideally flow the content to the device at an appropriate rate.
In making content available via WebVR, A-Frame is one of the building blocks which allows for quicker and easier building of applications. Another important consideration is that it makes experimentation that much easier as well. This is very important for development, which has been primarily on the gaming side. However, when considering schools, teachers and students, having the ability to work on something for themselves, and then also being able to test it, allows someone to be able to go down paths previously unimaginable. This is always the recipe for true discovery.
So what is Veative’s role? As an educational content company, we always strive for ways to connect students with ideas, and simple ideas for instructors to engage the minds of young learners. When the opportunity to work with UNICEF presented itself, we followed their lead in taking VR to a wider audience, regardless of socioeconomic condition, to bring what we do out as an open-source offering. The unique part we have been able to offer is to allow for user data and analytics to be shared with an instructor, to enable a connection between student and teacher, which can be a real dilemma with VR. As the VR is a uniquely personal experience (primarily when utilized within a VR device), there can seem to be a disconnect from the teacher. We strive to close that gap, while not encumbering a teacher by forcing them to “look inside” the VR just to follow the actions of a student. Assessment is a natural part of the learning process and is even more important with technology such as the VR, which can separate people if not used correctly.
If you would like to give this a try, follow this link and check it out.
There are six modules there at the moment, and we are working on the next set of six, which will be made available in the coming months. We welcome feedback. Happy learning!