Emerging technology like virtual reality (VR) is one of the hottest trends in edtech. In fact, one study found that 93% of teachers said that their students would be excited to use virtual reality.

Emerging technology like virtual reality (VR) is one of the hottest trends in edtech. In fact, one study found that 93% of teachers said that their students would be excited to use virtual reality.

Like other digital technology, VR provides a range of opportunities to connect students to engaging, interactive experiences that deepen their learning. Some experts believe that VR is even changing the way students learn. And according to the UK’s Virtual Reality Society, using VR in education provides a number of benefits, including:

  • Active rather than passive experience
  • An immersive experience without distractions
  • Immediate engagement
  • A hands-on approach that aids with retention
  • Helping students to understand complex subjects and theories

Equally important, virtual reality is affordable and accessible to almost everyone. While VR headsets can cost up to $800, Google Cardboard delivers vivid, immersive experiences for less than $20. There are two options: to purchase them or print them on cardboard and fold it together for a DIY option. Once you have your viewer, simply strap in your smartphone and begin exploring.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up five apps and activities that will allow your students to explore the world, virtually:

1. Take a virtual field trip

You may not be able to take students on an actual field trip to Antarctica or the International Space Station. But with Google Expeditions, students can go virtually anywhere. The app helps to bring your lessons to life as it takes students on immersive journeys through VR.

Some expeditions to explore include:

  • A visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing to discover Chinese dynasties;
  • A journey along the Great Barrier Reef;
  • A trip to the North Pole; and
  • A walk through the ancient ruins in England and France.

Watch this video to discover the possibilities of Google Expeditions in education through the eyes of a middle school student.

2. Watch 360-degree videos

360-degree video is a great way to augment your lessons and raise engagement. What’s more, you can find immersive and captivating videos readily available on YouTube and Facebook, and allow students to experience new stories, people, and places in virtual reality. With these interactive videos, students can take a tour of outer space, go deep-sea diving, or head into the savannah to meet a young lion named Gibson.

3. Go on a journey with Peronio

Most children have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up, but Peronio needs a little help. With Peronio Pop Up Book (iTunes), students take on a holographic reading experience to help Peronio discover different professions and decide what he wants to be. They will also find exciting games and challenges embedded in certain pages of the story to enhance their experience.

4. Roam the earth in prehistoric times

Every child loves dinosaurs, and your students can see them up close and personal thanks to virtual reality. With Jurassic VR (iTunes and Google Play), students can hop into a time machine and safely observe the deadly creatures as they prowl their natural habitat. And while students explore the island’s Jurassic shores and dense jungle, they’ll also learn about the history of dinosaurs and hunt for their favorite creatures like the T-Rex or Triceratops.

5. Capture and relive moments in VR

Imagine taking a photo and being able to relive that exact moment in the future. Cardboard Camera (iTunes and Google Play) makes it possible! Give students the chance to capture scenery, sights in nature, and even program events. The app also allows you to share the VR photos with families through email and social media.

Introducing new technology into your program is an innovative way to excite and engage your students. And virtual reality is a low-cost, accessible tool to provide them with immersive experiences. So grab a few viewers and use these activities to help students see the world through their own lens.