A Scottish council is getting serious about using VR for education.
East Renfrewshire Council this month announced that it had invested £250,000 to bring over 900 ClassVR headsets to every school in its area. ClassVR isn’t a simple smartphone-based device but instead a full standalone headset specifically tailored to take students on virtual field trips and history lessons that can be guided by teachers.
Created by Avantis Systems, the headset features a Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A17 processor, 2GB RAM and a 2560 x 1440 display. It’s by no means a powerhouse designed for the latest games, but should suit the needs of a classroom with little concern. There’s even a front-facing camera for AR content and to allow kids to view their surrounding area.
— ClassVR from Avantis (@ClassVR) February 26, 2018
ClassVR provides its own educational resources, too, created to align with the UK curriculum. Content covers a range of topics including trips to historic sites, explorations for geography, scientific marvels and more. It runs on the company’s own interface, the Holodeck, which is navigated with simple gesture controls both with basic hand-tracking and head movements.
Headsets have been distributed to the 30 schools under the council’s area. Teachers can plan lessons ClassVR’s resources and then, when children are in VR, launch software simultaneously to multiple headsets using a connected PC. They can then point out areas of interest and get an idea of where children are looking with a real-time headset view and more.
The system sounds very similar to Google’s Expeditions initiative, which utilized its Cardboard VR viewers, but won’t need a smartphone to run.