Tag: homeschool

See the world, stay at home. VR experiences for the traveling challenged.

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.

Yet.

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: 

  • Ducie Island
  • Your home
  • New York/Statue of Liberty
  • Meteor Crater
  • Sedan Crater (the aftermath of the Sedan nuclear test)
  • Theme Parks
  • 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)
  • Mt. Fuji
  • 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!

https://vrborg.com/apps-experiences/top-places-to-visit-in-google-earth-vr

https://www.vrheads.com/google-earth-vr

Special challenges require special tools.

As parents to a special needs son, my wife and I have struggled with the right way to teach him the things he needs to learn. One of the things that really holds his attention is electronics. How did we determine how much screen time is right for our child? The same way we measured everything else that he consumed. We question if it is providing a healthy benefit, or is it just empty calories, to be consumed sparingly.

Different abilities require different tools. Screens are a tool that we can use to improve our lives. Our son has sensory processing disorder and cognitive verbal delay. Typical verbal and written lessons are more challenging for him than for most kids. Educational apps on his iPad and shows on Netflix allow him to learn at his own pace, and repeat lessons as much as he needs to without testing the patience of a teacher or classmates.

Using these tools, and with help and encouragement from his teachers, he has advanced past grade level in several subjects. We can attribute his progress directly to his guided use of technology. Just like any tool, not all screens are the same, and if used correctly they can help produce great work. It’s how you use them that makes all the difference. To bring it back around to the food analogy, we are happy to let him consume healthy content that helps him grow.