VR has been around for a long time. We have heard the promises, listened to the dreams, and in the end, it hasn’t been all it was cracked up to be.
With a worldwide pandemic where travel is limited and many destinations are closed, has VRs time finally come? What about those of us who are limited in the amount of travel we can do, or have other issues that prevent us from physically going to the natural and cultural landmarks that make our planet such a rich place?
The first thing you will need is a VR headset. For a decent viewing experience, it’s actually quite affordable. A simple device like the Google Cardboard headset will do just fine, pairs with a cell phone you already have, and costs as little as $15. There are other, more expensive, headsets that work better for gaming or other, richer, VR experiences, but for simply viewing famous landmarks and other cell phone based VR, Cardboard works just fine.
So what is out there to look at?
Google Earth is a great place to start. Here is a short list of places to check out:
New York/Statue of Liberty
Sedan Crater (the aftermath of the Sedan nuclear test)
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (you can go to the ground on a 1:1 scale and stand on this statue)
The Great Barrier Reef
Rome / The Colosseum
Palace of the Sun King in Versailles
Shibuya in Tokyo
This should be a good start. I’ll be back with more VR experiences in the future. Remember, just because we are at home doesn’t mean we can’t explore!
With many schools switching to remote teaching, parents are trying to figure out how to give their children the best chance to succeed. Here are some tips that will help.
Set aside a dedicated space. Having a physical space that is dedicated to schoolwork will help get children, and parents, differentiate between doing schoolwork, and just being at home. Try and set aside a corner of a room for a small desk or table, and keep all the necessary supplies close by. It is extremely difficult to remain focused on a task when you have to make trips around the house to get needed supplies, and stepping away from the desk will introduce lots of opportunities to get distracted. If you don’t have space for another desk, try setting up temporary dividers on the family dining table. You can create separate dividers for different subjects, with frequently needed information applied on each one.
Get a good internet connection. If at all possible, connect the school computer directly to your router with a network cable. It will provide a faster and more stable connection than wireless does. This is especially important for video chats. While not strictly necessary, it will make the whole experience much smoother.
Find a good chair. Ergonomics are just as important for kids as they are for adults, posture problems now can become big health problems in the future. Physical discomfort and fatigue also make it harder to concentrate. Here is an article reviewing childrens chairs to give you an idea of what to look for. https://www.imore.com/best-desk-chair-kids Remember, there is high demand right now, so finding something in stock may be difficult. When you find a deal, jump on it. Also, add a small step stool for your kids to set their feet on. Feet dangling off the chair is not only uncomfortable, it can cause dangerous blood clots even in children.
Take care of yourself. All these tips apply for those of us working from home also. We are going to be working or going to school from home for the foreseeable future, so let’s try and reduce little annoyances. They add up, and over time make the whole experience stressful and exhausting.
Finally, BE PATIENT. This is a new routine and experience for everyone, and change is always difficult. It’s ok if it’s hard and things don’t go smoothly at first. Learn the lessons that come along, be adaptable, and keep moving forward. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help! We are all in this together.