While many professors recognize virtual reality (VR) as an emerging classroom technology, some still struggle with how to incorporate it into their curriculum. There’s a default view that VR is only good for virtual field trips or in specific departments like computer science or media production. The truth is that VR is quite easy to produce and can be effective cross-discipline; it shouldn’t be pigeonholed as appropriate for only certain departments. VR is already being used for many real-world applications–hiring, training, marketing/sales, medical purposes, entertainment, and more–and is worth considering for many different university departments.

For instance, Emporia State University (ESU) in Kansas first used our platform to capture a 360-degree historical reenactment by their venerable history professor, Dr. Joyce Thierer. History seems an unlikely starting point for proving the value of VR, but the reenactment took place off-campus, and the school wanted to preserve the performance going forward in the most realistic fashion possible.

Using VR transports the viewer of that application to a close-up view of the performance, immersing them in all the sights and sounds without field-of-vision limitations. And using a VR headset to view it fully captures the audience’s attention, not allowing for the usual distractions that accompany something like watching a YouTube video on your laptop.

(Next page: How various professors are integrating virtual reality into their courses.)

About the Author:

Andrew Woodberry is the head of Sales & Marketing at InstaVR, a web-based platform for authoring, publishing, and analyzing 360-degree VR content. Since launching in December 2015, more than 10,000 users have signed up to create their own VR applications.


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