There has been lots of talk about Google Cardboard and its potential to transform how we learn. However, most people still aren’t using virtual reality (VR) headsets, often citing expense and usability as issues.
We’ll explore why Google Cardboard is a great addition to traditional learning and how VirtualSpeech are integrating it into their online courses.
Google Cardboard is a VR headset which is used to view different virtual experiences on your mobile. When you insert your mobile into the headset and put it on, you’ll be able to look around as if you were actually in the virtual world.
The VR experience and the virtual world is powered by your mobile phone, with the Google Cardboard holding it in the correct position. In this way, Google Cardboard is purely a viewing tool.
Google provide the software (Google VR SDK) which developers use to build apps for Google Cardboard, hence the Google in its name.
The Google Cardboard, most come with a headstrap so you don't need to hold it in position.
There’s no shortage of VR headsets available in the marketplace. However, in comparison to the top of the market VR headsets, like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard offers major advantages for online courses:
Due to the materials chosen for design and assembly, there are also some downsides to using a Google Cardboard to power your VR experiences:
Anybody can download the designs from Google's website and build their own Google Cardboard. Many people have used these designs as the basis for their headset, while changing small parts of it.
The Google Cardboard on the left shows the more modern push trigger, while the older magnet trigger is shown on the right.
The main difference in design is the trigger used to activate things in the virtual world:
When selecting a headset for online courses, you’ll want to buy one with a push trigger as not all apps now work with the magnet trigger.
Setup taken from the official Google Cardboard page:
The Google Cardboard icon, used to indicate that an app is compatible with a VR headset.
Google cardboard apps can run on both iPhones and Android mobiles. However, from my experience as a developer, it’s much easier to build apps for Android devices. This is probably why there are many more VR apps on the Google Play Store compared to the Apple App Store.
Here are some of the popular headsets and links of where you can buy them:
There are lots of Google Cardboard variations available to buy, with prices ranging from $5-$40. Some have moved away from the usual cardboard material to more robust materials.
VirtualSpeech have created a course which combines traditional online video tutorials with VR experiences for the Google Cardboard. There are four different VR experiences, each linking with relevant sections in the video tutorials.
For example, you’ll learn about how to give eye contact to different sized audiences with the video tutorials, then practice these techniques in virtual reality with realistic audiences and environments.
Use the course heatmap to check where you spent your eye contact distribution.
You’ll also get sent a Google Cardboard when you sign up for the course if you need one. All you need to do then is download the VirtualSpeech app onto your mobile and you can then learn experientially from the safety of your own home.