Oculus Rift is a virtual-reality gaming headset that makes you feel as if you are in another world. It’s the first virtual-reality system that’s on track to be widely available to consumers soon. (Facebook recently bought it.) The experts agree that game designers will lead the way in adapting and developing Oculus Rift technology.
But there are lots of arenas in which Oculus Rift may be a game-changer. One of those arenas is education. A favorite teacher of ours, Lucas Gillispie, who introduces himself as “Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pender County schools, a gamer and a geek,” blogged recently about his hopes for Oculus Rift in the classroom. “You put this thing on, and you’re looking around inside a digital world,” Gillispie says.
Gillispie envisions taking students in a “virtual time machine” to ancient Egypt. In Gillispie’s ultimate educational experience, students would not only be able to observe an ancient marketplace’s sights and sounds, they’d be able to engage with other players in a “playable (and educational) mystery adventure.”
There’s a lot of speculation in tech circles about when Oculus Rift will be widely available. But the developer kit is available now—and Gillispie bought one. He reports that he was able to “walk amongst” his students’ Minecraft creations.
Demonstrating the Oculus Rift experience for his colleagues, Gillispie got rave reactions all around.
Gillispie speculates that it’ll take more powerful computers than are in most classrooms now to support this technology. But, given its potential for immersive educational experiences—in everything from science to math to reading to history—Oculus Rift represents a fantastic opportunity for students and teachers alike.
(If you’re new to video games, why not download our free Get Connected Guide? There’s information in there about games that are fun and about games that teach you and your kids cool stuff, too.)