I've been working on a little project recently, it's not yet ready, and I've been keeping it on the down-low.
I recently got myself a Google Cardboard, and it is brilliant, I've even been testing out making some 360 degree photos of my own, maybe, if I can one day justify it, I'll spring for a 360 video camera. The Ricoh Theta looks cool, but till then I'll use what I find online.
I was messing around us not the Google street view app, looking at the Gran Canyon, when I thought of the potential it would have for RE (it also has huge potential for any subject, history and geography spring to mind). It's not always easy to get to places of worship and it's close to impossible to check out sites of pilgrimage, this is where Google cardboard helps out a lot. I've decided to start creating virtual field trips, allowing pupils to the experience the place of worship or pilgrimage site without having to step outside the classroom. If you haven't tried it out, make sure you do, imagine the fully immersive experience that you could provide pupils with.
Sure, it's a little gimmicky, but I'm positive that it will create a memorable learning experience.
There's also huge potential with augmented reality, talking to a geography colleague I saw more potential with his subject than mine, but I'll do some head scratching on that. Basically augmented reality allows you to hold a device and when it scans certain items then additional content appears on top, my thoughts immediately jumped to how you could use this for fieldwork training, perhaps having a video pop up when you reach a certain area with an explanation of how to do that particular task. I'm currently testing out the possibility of using it to provide additional content support for homework, but I'll be working on some in class uses soon.
As you might have seen with other stuff I've done, I'm keen to use stuff that doesn't require pupils to use their own devices, nor am I too keen on them using my iPhone inside the cardboard for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because I'd cry if it got broken.
This leads me on to the 'exciting' part, what I'm trying to create is a multipurpose virtual reality and augmented reality headset using a raspberry pi as the base. In this way I can start building up a multipurpose device which can achieve my aims and also avoid the issue of pupils having devices.
I'm not saying that this is going to be easy, and it is definitely going to be a work in process.
If anyone has any experience with similar pi projects then I would love some input, but hopefully this could be something very exciting that opens up a whole realm of affordable and accessible virtual reality for the classroom.
I'll be posting updates as I go along, but as always, thanks for reading and chat to me on Twitter @MrMcKavanaghRE