EdTech Trend: Google Cardboard

By Monica Burns 04.14.2015 blog

Wearable technology, including Google Glass or the newly launched Apple Watch, has made the news for years. Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe even talked about it in this TED Talk. Although wearable tech is increasingly popular for those who can afford the investment, it’s not something that can easily be brought into the classroom.

One affordable solution for placing wearable technology in the hands of your students is Google Cardboard. This easy-to-make (or inexpensive to purchase) device works with Android and iOS phones to give students a virtual reality experience. Using special apps that divide the screen in half with different views, Google Cardboard let’s kids bring a smartphone to their face in a completely new way.

How does Google Cardboard work?

After assembling a Google Cardboard, students place their phone inside the device. You can access directions for making a Google Cardboard here or purchase one for under twenty dollars on Amazon. The phone must have specific apps loaded on the device that work with this Google Cardboard. Take a look at the list below for some examples. Once the phone is placed inside the Google Cardboard students can hold up the device and look through the viewfinder. They’ll no longer see a split screen since their eyes will combine the two for one view.

Why should I use Google Cardboard in the classroom?

Google Cardboard lets students explore an emerging technology as well as a virtual world. Open up a roller coaster app before exploring physics concepts, or take a virtual tour of a real place that would be impossible as a field trip. Giving students an opportunity to view a space, place or idea with wearable technology can increase engagement and provide a context for learning. All students need is a smartphone preloaded with a free app (something you or they might already have in their pocket) and a device made from cardboard that takes just a minute to fold into place.

Which Google Cardboard apps should I use?

Here are a few apps that work well with Google Cardboard.  Although it is designed for Android devices, it can also be used with a select few iOS apps.

The North Face Climb: This app takes Google Cardboard users to Yosemite National Park.  It lets students take a tour of the outdoors from an awe-inspiring outdoor view.

Lanterns for Google Cardboard: With this app students can view a simulation of the Lantern Festival.  Celebrated in many countries including Singapore and China, it’s a neat virtual field trip.

Cardboard: This preview app shows off some of the great features of Google Cardboard.  Users can connect with YouTube, Google Earth, and even take a tour of Versailles.

Dive City Rollercoaster: Designed for iOS devices, this app takes users on a rollercoaster ride.  It’s a great example for students exploring physics concepts.

How could you use this device with your students?

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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