Immersive virtual reality experiences can make learning a lot more fun for students and for anyone visiting places like museums. It'll take work to get to a point where they're widely used as a teaching tool, though, and Oculus is taking a leaf out of Google's book and planting the seeds for that future by launching educational pilot programs in Taiwan, Japan and Seattle. The company is working with local organizations, schools and educators to distribute Rift and Go headsets to libraries, museums and schools.
It's up to each recipient to think of ways to use the headsets in an educational setting, since the pilot's goal is to better understand how VR can aid in learning and collaboration. In Taiwan, for instance, the Taiwan Internet and E-Commerce Association will distribute units to libraries and museums that will set up demos for the public. The art museums in the list are even exploring the possibility of demonstrating immersive art creation using apps like Quill and Medium.
In Japan, Oculus is teaming up with educators who plan to use the headsets to connect with students in remote parts of the country. Finally, in Seattle, Oculus is developing a VR creation course and learning program with Seattle Public Schools. The company is also looking into the best way to train educators on how to use VR for teaching with Seattle's Technology Access Foundation.
In addition to launching the pilots, Oculus has also released three educational experiences, starting with Breaking Boundaries in Science. The experience looks at the groundbreaking scientific contributions of three scientists: Dr. Jane Goodall and her research on wild chimpanzees, Marie Curie and her discovery of radium, and US Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper whose invention led to the development of early programming language COBOL. Oculus has updated Titanic VR with fresh content that shows what happened from a survivor's perspective, as well. The third experience is Hoover Dam: IndustrialVR, which will give you a way to fly over the structure or to dive underwater to inspect its details. All three are now available on the Oculus Store.