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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

12 FREE Educational iPhone Apps to Use With Google Cardboard


Can a simple piece of cardboard bring you an exciting virtual reality (VR) experience?  You bet!  If you haven't tried it yet, I suggest you buy an inexpensive Google Cardboard VR kit on Amazon and get started.  Purchase a pre-built, ready to assemble kit rather than a kit that needs to be fully assembled, they simply stay together better.  You also need to have an Android based or iPhone (Smartphone) that will fit in the cardboard frame, so check the dimensions.  Are you interested in knowing how a $10 kit including cardboard, some lenses, and a magnet makes this amazing experience work?  Watch this video: https://youtu.be/SxAj2lyX4oU

I have an iPhone, so I have been investigating IOS based apps that are available for Cardboard.  Here are 12 FREE apps that I have found:

Google Cardboard- The official app for cardboard, this app has you exploring a museum, walking through cities such as Paris, Tokyo, and New York, and playing with a Kaleidoscope.
In Mind VR- Travel inside a patient's brain and see if you can find the neurons that are causing a mental disorder in the patient.
EON Experience VR- Explore some amazing places such as Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, or identify fish in an interactive aquarium.  View virtual objects (still) such as the human body (warning: shows ALL), the heart, a skeleton, skull, Notre Dame, the London Eye, and more.
VR Safari- How many animals can you identify on safari?  Use this app for studying about animal habitats or for counting, grouping, or identifying animal characteristics. 
Dino Trek VR- Follow different dinosaurs as the camera flies over the action.  This is more of a story than a stand-still activity, but it can be played as many times as you wish.  Every time you can turn a different way and see something new.  How many dinosaurs did you see?
Jurassic Virtual Reality (VR)- More dinosaurs!  Walk around Jurassic Park and see how many dinosaurs you can find.  Watch out for the T-Rex!
VR Stories- Put yourself in the middle of newsworthy American events including historical, sports, and human interest stories from Gannett.
VRSE- Immerse yourself in video.  Experiences include flying over New York, on the set of Saturday Night Live, and as Millions March on New York City.
QUT Global Goggles- Watch as landmarks from around the world come to life right before your eyes.  Dislike:  The landmarks are all in one place and not in their respective countries, but it is interesting to see them and to identify them.
Tuscany- Beenoculus- Explore the quaint Tuscan countryside.  This might be useful to visualize Italy when reading books or studying history.
Dive City Rollercoaster- Go on a 3-D rollercoaster ride and feel like you are really experiencing the drops, twists, and turns.  OK, this one is mostly fun, but maybe you can sneak some physics lessons, story starters, or figurative, descriptive, or persuasive writing from the experience.
War of Words VR- Go back to 1916 and the Battle of the Somme through poetry and VR.  You must have excellent head tracking to enter part 2 of the poem.  For older students.

Right now there are many more cardboard apps available for Android phones, but it looks like the availability of IOS apps is growing.  I am looking forward to further development of apps and a Google classroom product that will put virtual field trips in the hands of our students, inexpensively and easily.  But for now, have fun exploring!
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