Virtual Reality

Why Museums Should Dive Into VR

Monday, September 11, 2017 Comment museum VR

As a young child, I took this photo, of the Franklin Museum’s Giant Heart, my way of expressing my love for this immersive, interactive experience. A few decades later, last month, I returned with my colleagues, on a field trip from NYC to Philadelphia, to visit this venerable institution and learn how they’d been implementing their newest museum-wide strategy for immersive, interactive experiences, but this time using virtual reality. Led by Susan Poulton, their Chief Digital Officer, I learned that the future might be arriving sooner than expected and museums need to develop more agile practices


Watchworthy Wednesday: Playing with Realities

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Comment alternate reality game

The new Bloomsbury book, “Alternate Reality Games and the Cusp of Digital Gameplay,” prompted its editors Antero Garcia and Greg Niemeyer to offer a symposium about augmented reality games and how they shape communities. Called “If You Weren’t,” the free symposium takes place May 23 at Stanford University. Details are available online. Presented by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the symposium is a “daylong academic symposium related to alternate and augmented reality gaming as well as a series of playtests and opportunities for collaboration,” Garcia said. “Greg Niemeyer and


Using Mobile VR to Convey WONDER

Thursday, May 04, 2017 Comment WONDER Exhibit

Last year, I was gob-smacked on a trip to D.C. by the temporary WONDER exhibit at the Renwick Gallery (and wrote about it here). Last fall, I was excited to see the Gallery release a mobile VR version of the now-closed exhibit. I reached out to Sara Snyder, the chief of the Media and Technology Office at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, to learn how and why it was developed. Sara, thank you for joining us today. Why don’t we start by introducing your museum (the Smithsonian American Art Museum) and your department (the Media and


How Can VR be Used for Learning?

Thursday, April 27, 2017 Comment beads

The hype around virtual reality (VR) has died down a bit, though the conference keeps going. I was happy to attend the Versions conference earlier this year, though I was disappointed (but not surprised) that there wasn’t that much new stuff. Rather, it seems there is less happening than there was before as the medium continues to figure out what its best use cases are if it is to become a consumer technology. Since last year, I’ve learned that, for me personally, I prefer room scale VR to other experiences. The ability to move through space


Augmented Wearables and the Future of Museums: An Update

Thursday, July 28, 2016 Comment mixed reality

A year ago, I wrote “Augmented Wearables and the Future of Museums” for DML Central. Back then, most everything was in the conceptual realm. Tools were not yet for sale and most weren’t even available yet for developers. Boy, has a lot changed in one year (and I’m not even talking about Pokémon Go, which I did write about here a few weeks ago). When I was a kid, no baseball game was complete without a box of Cracker Jacks. I still feel that way. A few weeks ago, at a game with my family, I


Watchworthy Wednesday: How Pokémon Go Promotes Learning Opportunities

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 Comment Pokémon Go players

In barely two weeks, the virtual reality game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of players. Now, educators are pondering whether the game can be used to promote learning. Three blogs — Aside, Discovery Education and EdTech — are nodding indeed. “Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities,” writes Discovery Education’s Kathy Schrock. She offers a number of resources educators can use to create lessons. Among her observations: “The journal component of the game automatically records the time and date of the events as they


The Secret Sauce in Pokémon Go: Big Data

Thursday, July 14, 2016 Comment Pokemon Go screen shots

Unless you’ve been holed-up in a cave playing Minecraft, you’ve heard about (and possibly even played) the new augmented reality (AR) mobile game sweeping the globe, Pokémon Go. For sure, AR can be exciting and compelling, when properly designed, offering us an experience of co-presence with a virtual character or object. And, it’d be understandable if you attributed Nintendo’s success to its use of the AR camera. But, you’d be wrong. The game’s AR succeeds, in fact, because it turned big data into a game. With Pokémon Go, we are offered the opportunity to pretend our


Exploring Virtual Reality in Education

Thursday, March 17, 2016 Comment Boy wearing virtual reality headset and earphones

When looking at the state of digital media and learning today, virtual reality (VR) is barely a blip in many of the broader conversations. Much of the work being done focuses on peer-to-peer learning and practices of social pedagogy, which are in many ways, the opposite of the current state of VR. About 20 years ago, VR in education had something of a research heyday. A search on Google scholar turns up thousands of results between 1991-1999. While the research never slowed, the technology never became accessible enough for virtual reality to become mainstream.That is changing


IndieCade, Part 3: Learning from Virtual Reality

Thursday, November 20, 2014 Comment game with characters showing jail and men fighting

Oculus Rift made headlines this year with a development kit for its affordable virtual reality head-mounted display, which comes equipped with sophisticated software that prevents the “simulator sickness” that was so common on earlier models. The Oculus technology was considered valuable enough to merit a $2 billion acquisition by Facebook, and it soon became the talk of many game festivals, including the independent games festival IndieCade, where it was featured in the ticking clock bomb defusion game “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.” But, the big winner for VR technologies at IndieCade this year was Nonny de la