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5 Virtual Reality Apps for the Classroom

One of the most popular products schools fundraise for on Rocket Fund is virtual reality headsets. We wanted to see what all the fuss is about: What products are out there? How do schools use them? And do the students enjoy them?!

We asked Jamie Feltham of Upload Vr to give us an introduction to VR experiences for education. Here is his roundup of his top 5.

5 Apps That Show What VR Can Do For Education

People love to say that VR is the future of education. But, for all the hype, where are the apps that actually prove this? Well, believe it or not, they’re out there, even if the platforms and ecosystems to properly support them aren’t quite there yet. Below I’ve listed some of my top picks for VR apps and services available now that demonstrate the power of this amazing new technology.

Hold The World

Ever wanted to meet Sir David Attenborough? Haven’t we all? This new Oculus Rift app might not get you an in-person meeting with the broadcasting legend, but it’s certainly the next best thing. Attenborough’s been brought to digital life with photorealism in this amazing tour of some of the most prized exhibits of London’s Natural History Museum. Hundreds of cameras have been employed to make him look every bit as lifelike in VR.

You sit opposite the man himself as he talks over various subjects that you can pick up and inspect in amazing detail. Not only that, but you can enlarge giant skeletons and more, eventually watching them come to life as Attenborough points out areas of interest and fills you in with his unparalleled knowledge. It really is an amazing experience. Find out more here

Google Expeditions

As for VR actually inside the classroom? Google’s already there. Google Expeditions is an educational platform that utilises the company’s exhaustive library of panoramic images and videos that take students on virtual field trips using its simple Cardboard VR viewer. All you need is a smartphone!

With a teacher leading the class via tablet, kids are able to explore Aztec temples, Everest’s peak and much more. Information about each location can be found in every experience, ensuring that kids learn through experience rather than textbooks. There’s also an excellent augmented reality (AR) version of the app that lets you explore 3D models of human organs and more. Find out more here

Operation Apex

Documentaries like Blue Planet do a remarkable job at charting the activities of our vast oceans, but, outside of an incredibly expensive diving trip, only VR can actually bring you there. Operation Apex is a great example of gamifying education, putting you on the hunt for a strange anomaly in the ocean’s food chain that will have you meeting an incredible amount of aquatic life up close and personal.

It’s the actions and immersion that make this a standout piece. You need to learn what types of food fish like to eat and then find and scan that grub in order to feed it to them. More importantly, though, the game carries an important environmental message and a striking moment that shows you why empathy can be just as powerful a tool for education as it can any other type of VR experience. Find out more here

Titanic VR

Of course, VR can also be used as something of a time machine, and that’s exactly what Titantic VR does. There are two parts to this brilliant app. The first is a story-driven adventure in which you explore the wreck of the enormous vessel, learning about its various sections and machinations as well as taking part in the restoration processes that go into preserving and learning more about the Titanic.

The second uses eye-witness accounts to reimagine the fateful day of the crash, huddling you up against desperate passengers in a mad scramble for survival. It’s a history lesson come to life and is filled with memorable moments. See also the same company’s take on the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Find out more here

Titans of Space 2.0

Perhaps the best place in VR to take a trip of our solar system. This sends you on a fantastical trip, soaring over planets and orbiting around the sun, complete with plenty of facts about the inhabitants of the milky way as you explore.

There’s a lot of space exploration available in VR already but Titans of Space stands out from the pack with its powerful sense of immersion and accessible structure.

Find out more here

If you are interested in bringing VR to the classroom, why not try fundraising for it on Rocket Fund?

We’re here to help you make school out of this world!

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Ardleigh Green School on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign

Here’s some feedback from Karen Whelan, Year 6 teacher and computing lead, who headed up a very successful fundraising project for her school Ardleigh Green, on why she would most definitely use Rocket Fund again.

  • Money raised: £1,544
  • Equipment purchased: 12 Chromebooks

Why did you want to create a project on Rocket Fund?

Two years ago, we took the decision to use our budget on purchasing one Chromebook per Year 6 student. It was an absolute game-changer and we saw a massive increase in confidence and coding skills. We wanted to extend this service by year group to reach our Year 5s, as we believe it has such a positive effect on learning.

We didn’t have the funds to pay for it from the school budget, so decided to run a Rocket Fund campaign instead!

What did you learn from the experience?

That I’m pretty persuasive! I liked that Rocket Fund was online, it meant that we could share it, spread it, tweet it – get it around really quickly and to a massive audience. It’s an easy way to share what we’re doing. Also, I liked that other teachers could get involved – three of our teachers swam a mile of the Thames!

Every time the parents were around, we’d ask them to donate, we tweeted daily… we annoyed people for a month, but it really worked!

Teachers celebrate completing their swimathon
Teachers raising money for their school

Would you recommend Rocket Fund to other schools and why?

Oh yes, definitely yes.

The fact that you had helpful hints of what to say for each section really helped, as well as having someone on the phone to tell you what will work and what won’t. Having the capability of a video to hook people in was really helpful too.

It wasn’t a difficult process to have to go through, especially if you consider the impact and gain we received. The hardest bit was at the start: writing it, sending it off. Once that’s done, it’s about sharing, building up momentum and getting it out there.

How would you have raised the money without Rocket Fund?

We would have eventually, but it would have taken a long time to save the money. It’s a long-term goal to get Chromebooks for every year group. Raising money through Rocket Fund now means that we have enough for each Year 5 student as well as some for Years 3 and 4!

What do you think were your most successful ways of communicating with your funders?

Our school website was a major channel. ClassDojo (the behavioural software) tweeted a lot, and we made sure we used the same hashtags consistently. We created a cool video and showed it whenever parents were in school for plays, concerts etc. and we explained how beneficial it would be to the students. We went to the local press as well and made sure we provided them with pictures. 

How were your students involved in the project?

They were involved in the video-making and producing some content for social media. I spoke to them a lot throughout the process and got them on-side so that they could help to spread the word and explain to people why we were doing it. They learned a lot about fundraising and also communications.

What would you say to others who were interested?

Choose a realistic target that you can actually achieve – because you can go above that anyway – and really put some effort into sharing it. It can be really successful if you do it, rather than just forgetting about it!

Have you ever used a crowdfunding platform before?

I’d done personal things, races etc, but nothing for school.

Would you fundraise through Rocket Fund again?

Yes! I’m keen to take part in wave 3, to fundraise for the Year 3’s Chromebooks! I want to get the children more involved still, perhaps by doing a sponsored walk…