Google Cardboard: the dawn of VR in ELT

Google Cardboard
“Google Cardboard” by othree available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/othree/14519574116/. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
I was recently given a Google Cardboard viewer and finally got around to trying it out today. The basic idea is that once you download the Cardboard app onto your smartphone, you insert the phone into the rear of the cardboard device pictured above and you have yourself an inexpensive VR device. The app then links you to the 360° YouTube channel containing dozens of immersive videos.

The verdict? Amazing! . . . although it does take your eyes a few moments to adjust to the binary images in order to resolve them into the one image (a bit like a Magic Eye painting).

British Council has a post outlining a number of suggestions on how the viewer can be used as a supplementary resource in the EFL classroom (assuming you can get a class set: the viewers retail for about $15). Cambridge English is trialing the technology as a means of alleviating candidates’ anxieties about the day of the exam. Once 360° cameras become more affordable and widespread, I can see schools and universities using VR for virtual campus tours and course inductions.

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