Another article, based upon a pretty cool infographic produced by the minds at Samsung. I still don’t see their device as true VR, as it is more about creating immersive video than interactive experiences. I like the info they presented, but they missed the mark on one key element that is keeping the VR uptake in schools low; COST. Yes cost. as with most things in life (especially with technology One key point that is constantly missed is that in the classroom we need multiple devices to make it an effective teaching tool.
NOTE: I have decided that when I am writing I’m going to divide VR headsets into two categories; Headset VR (phone based headsets) and Immersive VR (HTC Vive, Occulus Rift, etc.)
In reality, we cannot rely on students owning specific models of phones or having specific apps for that allow them to use Video VR headsets. This means that to ensure use, schools need to provide the phones and the headsets. Class sizes in most classrooms is between 27 to 30. Which means we need, at minimum, of 15 devices. This is still not ideal, since you really want one to one, with a few spares for “technical difficulties”. I would estimate this at around $400 a set, as a phone that is capable will run you about $300. This is a low ball figure, which I suspect in reality is much higher. The cost quickly adds up; a set of 30 headsets would cost $12,000. And that for one class set. At my school, we would need more than one set, for the technology to be actually taken up; we have between 7- 9 classes each at year 7, 8 and 9.
This is a completely different kettle of fish. The headsets themselves run from $900 to $1500 AUD Each headset requires a high spec gaming computer, which is in the range of $3000. So using some dodgy rounding, we are looking at approximately $4000 a set. Immersive VR also requires a fair amount of open space, about 2.5m by 2.5 is the minimum. Lets ignore this factor though, as room setup for VR is now going to be a topic for future blogging (maybe! Eventually I might do it). Ideally, again you would want one to one, so this time we are looking at $120,000 for a class set. Even at a ratio of one headset for 4 students, your are looking at $30,000.
I love the idea of VR in the classroom. The potential that is there is amazing. I don’t think it is financially viable at the moment. Immersive VR, as a classroom tool, is out of reach. You would need a purpose built area for it, besides the massive cost of setup. at the moment, the best option we have will be Headset VR.
There are still a few barriers to get it into the classroom, but these (according to rumours and the internet) are coming down. The reality is we only need one thing; cross platform software that allows any device to be used. This means we can buy a set of generic headsets that fit any phone, with maybe a couple of spare devices.
#teachICT #edTech #VRed