Virtual and Augmented Reality Apps for Learning

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate a variety of apps and software to experience and create AR and VR learning.
  • Demonstrate production of 360 images for use in VR.
  • Develop AR and VR learning experiences using 360 media or 3D objects and scenes.

Just like the rest of the technology field, apps and tools for augmented and virtual reality come and go very quickly. An app that is free today might be converted to paid tomorrow or bought out by a larger firm and eliminated altogether. The apps and tools with the best longevity tend to be open source or freely provided by tech giant Google.

Rather than offering an extensive list of augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) apps for learning (which already exists), this guide will offer guidelines on evaluating apps and then focus on a few free apps that are likely to be around for a while that are great for getting started with AR and VR.

This section is a how-to guide for getting started with creating your own AR and VR learning experiences. This guide’s philosophy is to assume that you, the budding developer, just want to get your feet wet or want to discover a variety of options, and in either scenario, you have a very low or no budget.

In this section we’re going to go over a few AR and VR development apps that are free or open source. These apps are as good as it gets for aspiring AR and VR educators/trainers that want to create experiences or teach others to create experiences. Without coding or complicated software, you will be able to create simple interactive experiences using 360 photos and video and 3D objects from content libraries like Google Poly. We’ll look at Metaverse for AR, and H5P and Mozilla Spoke and Hubs for VR.

If you want to create something complex like 3D computer-generated environments (say, a tour of the interior of a cell, or a recreation of a historic place from scratch) you’ll need to learn coding and/or more complicated software like Unity or Unreal, though Facebook now offers Spark AR for creating AR experiences, which may be a little simpler. See Further Resources below for more on these.

We’ll dive into some resources to learn to use AR and VR apps to create simple learning experiences.

Finally, we’ll cover how to create your own 360 photos and media using both special cameras and your own smartphone.

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