Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality or Immersive Technology

There are different virtual reality platforms and one that holds great promise for education as well as commerce is Google Cardboard. The Cardboard viewer is a very inexpensive device that you can assemble together easily. There are also several different viewers on the market that can help you experience immersive media (e.g., games, panoramic pictures and videos, etc.). This type of viewer is worn like goggles. They have a place where you insert your smartphone with the screen directly positioned in front of the eyes. There are two adjustable lenses that allow the user to focus the image for each eye independently.

Can I make a VR viewer using a 3D printer?

If you have access to a 3D printer, the answer is Yes! There are several models on Thingiverse. You can view and search below:

How do I start?

It is not complicated. After buying or making your viewer, you can experience the immersive media that is already available such as 360-degree YouTube videos. You could also make your own media. Here are a few examples:

YouTube offers you many different immersive videos. Just search for 360 video in YouTube. 360 Video Channel 360 video channel .PNG is a popular channel.
The following video is only one playlist. You can find and make your own playlists on different topics. This is really important if you want to use it in the classroom and minimize any chance that inappropriate videos might pop up.
Life Underwater On The Great Barrier Reef

360 Video Cardboard.PNG

Start a 360-degree video on your smartphone and click the Cardboard icon . This will display the video separately on a split screen for your left and right eye. Put the camera in the viewer. Look up, down and around to see the environment around you. Be cautious, as some people may experience headache, dizziness and other symptoms associated with motion sickness. Also, the person using the viewer must be in a safe environment free from all potential hazards (e.g., tripping). Read about potential health concerns associated with these devices, especially for prolonged use and for young viewers or those with existing health issues. See below.

1. Take frequent breaks; 2. Stop using if you feel sick, disorientated, or any kind of discomfort; 3- Not intended for young children; 4- Adult supervision is a MUST for older children. 5- Not to be used when performing other tasks like walking; 6- Do not perform any tasks that require focus and balance such as driving, riding a bike, or being close to heavy machinery during and immediately after use; 7- If you have any health issues, ask your doctor before use.

Cardboard Camera AppCardboard Icon.PNG
The Cardboard Camera app on your smartphone allows you to capture panoramic pictures with or without sound which could be viewed with VR viewers.

StreetView App
The StreetView app allows you to capture the environment around you in every direction using your smartphone (spherical image). You could be inside or outside. To share these images you have to publish them. The following are photospheres made with a smartphone. You can go full screen and then click and drag the image to look around.

Here is the one of the top pictures converted to a short video for YouTube. You can download and convert your StreetView spherical jpg file into an mp4 video format, edit, inject the metadata (see here), and upload to YouTube. YouTube recommends 4K video (a 16:9 aspect ratio at 3840 x 2160 resolution). However, other resolutions such as 1920x1080 Full HD resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio still work. This is important if you want to edit your video as only the newest video editing software can handle 4K. The video below is HD.

360-Degree Cameras

These are becoming more and more affordable everyday. They allow you to capture spherical videos that you can share on YouTube if you wish. Future smartphones will probably allow you to capture 360-degree video, edit and share directly on YouTube. For now, to share your existing 360 videos on YouTube, you have to inject them with metadata as described here.
little planet shepherd B-1.png
Little Planet Effect made in GoPro VR

How do I view 360 degree panoramic images or videos on desktop computers, etc.?

There are many apps that allow you to do that. GoPro VR works well and it is free. The little planet effect here was made in GoPro VR.

This is good if you want to view your 360 media before you upload them on YouTube.

Can I edit my 360 degree panoramic images or videos?

Yes, but currently the process will require additional software (e.g., Photoshop, Premiere, etc.).

What are some of the ideas for curriculum integration?

There are way too many to mention here.
  • Explore 360 videos on YouTube to explore local and global issues such as the importance of the ocean reefs and what is threatening them.
  • Field trips
  • Make virtual tours of your school inside and outside.
  • Show how you have set up your classroom for other teachers to see.
  • Explore historic sites around the world (e.g., history and geography).
  • Record 360 videos of school performances, events, etc. Consider all privacy concerns. Obtain media releases and notify your school administrator.
  • All you need to get started is one VR viewer and your own smartphone. As one student uses the VR viewer, other students can view the media on the interactive whitebaord. Students can also use tablets to explore 360 media.
  • Treasure Hunt: You can create 360 images/videos of locations within your school where students look for embedded clues to search for a treasure.


The articles below allow you to access information on VR platforms, devices and their applications in education. You can scroll down to see each article in full.

Google Cardboard

Google Carboard: Wikipedia Article