Saturday, 17 November 2018 11:18

Panolingo – Learn Languages in VR

panolingo logo is a relatively new application that stands out from the plethora of Virtual Reality tools for learning foreign languages ​​that are available nowadays. The main reason for that is the excellent quality of the graphic depictions in the application. High-quality 360 ° panoramas are able to offer the user the viewing of environments in a natural way therefore enhancing the immersion of use, while limiting possible feelings of nausea due to the use of the medium.

 

The user through real life scenarios is required to complete activities by locating objects. For example, starting from his bed, the user is asked to locate his slippers in order to get up and then he has to find the door to get to the bathroom. The instructions for the execution of these actions are in English through incitements and natural expressions. This visualization of the necessary information will strengthen the imprinting on the user's subconscious, as it helps him to connect the new knowledge with real objects, in a really efficient way.

241

Panolingo - Learn Languages ​​in VR offers a point system, personal progress check and leaderboards for enhanced competition. Those features support the enhanced maintenance of the user's interest over time.Finally, it should be noted that there is also a conventional version in which the use of an HMD is not required.

With regard to its technical features, the application works seamlessly with the most popular HMDs such as Google Cardboard, Oculus Gear, Archos VR etc. At this stage, it is only available for Android but will soon be available for iOS devices while adding more languages ​​other than English.In conclusion, Panolingo is an excellent solution for a home-based tool, and is aimed at teachers who want to introduce Virtual Reality technology into the learning process.

Published in Virtual Reality
Monday, 24 September 2018 07:24

Mondly VR

If you tell me I'll listen if you show me I'll see but if you let me experience I will learn.

Lao-Tse 

mondly vr 4

Mondly VR is a new application by Mondly, which uses virtual reality to help students expand their language learning skills. What makes Mondly VR stand out is its language recognition ability. Users can take part in conversations with virtual characters in a variety of different real life scenarios. Those scenarios include talking to a taxi driver, a hotel hostess, a waitress in a restaurant a stranger at the train station and a few other interesting choices.

Inside the application

I was really shocked when I first found out that you can practice from a selection of over 30 languages. Obviously the first step is to select the desired language. After the language is selected you are supposed to pick the conversational situation that you would like to engage with.

Mondly VR learn 30 languages in Virtual Reality

The conversation begins when the virtual character asks you a question or makes a remark. Then, you are prompt with a series of answers in the language you have picked at the very first stage of the application as well as their explanation in English. As soon as you pick a suitable answer you will hear a voice which pronounces the answer. Afterwards your task is to repeat the answer. If your answer is detected as correct the conversation continues. Otherwise you are kindly asked to repeat your saying. Note though that the voice recognition mechanisms of the app are not flawless and need to be improved.

It is also worth mentioning that the level of difficulty between each conversation is different. For example it’s way easier to have a short chat with a passenger in the train, and harder if you are trying to reserve a hotel room.

choicevr

Level of interactivity and immersion

Although one shouldn't expect object manipulation by the user, it can be concluded that the level of interactity is higher than other similar applications, thus leading to a more immersive experience. After all immersive VR experiences are considered more advantageous compared to less immersive ones. In my opinion this characteristic of the app, along with the beautiful graphics make MondlyVR worth giving a try.

Specs and characteristics

Mondly VR is a paid application which is available for Android smartphones (inside a Cardboard obviously) and Oculus rift. You can read more about the application at their official site here 

Final thoughts

All in all, Mondly VR is a decent attempt to combine language learning with VR but certainly needs work in order to steal the show.

Published in Virtual Reality
Sunday, 31 December 2017 09:23

Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions is a virtual-reality teaching tool. It gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of amazing environments and areas that they may never have the chance to visit in person. You can swim with sharks, visit outer space, walk through a museum, and more without leaving the classroom. 

There are over 500 Expeditions trips available at the moment. Everything from the Great Wall of China, to the Buckingham Palace, and even the outer space are available as destinations for your students. Each Expedition is a 360-degree experience that allows students travel to an amazing place while being guided by a teacher.

To join an expedition, each participant needs a Wi-Fi-connected tablet or smartphone. Teachers choose the content that they want to show to the devices connected on the same Wi-Fi network and can pause, play, or change what students see.

Virtual reality provides an interactive, immersive experience. Instead of sitting passively, students stand up. Instead of looking at one aspect of an image, they literally turn their heads and move their eyes to view angles of a scenery. Instead of remaining aware of their classroom environment, they are immersed inside of a virtual reality setting.

How to use in classroom?

Teachers can use Expeditions to supplement their current curriculum with VR field trips.

The teacher’s role is to ask questions, pinpoint important things on the tour, etc. Giving time for students to explore each scene first and then highlighting points of interest can help enliven the content for your students. It is also worth mentioning that extensive support materials are provided for each scene, such as leveled questions and pre-determined points of interest.

Hardware/Software needed:

A tablet

The teacher guides his students through the use of a tablet he is handling. The role of the teacher is to provide the students with the necessary information regarding the scene they are watching while still being in charge of changing the scenes. It should be time-saving and problem-solving if each expedition has already been downloaded before the lesson's begging. 

Smartphones

A mobile phone between 4,5 - 5.99" with a gyroscopic sensor must be placed in every single cardboard. It doesn't have to big something fancy. As long as it possess a gyroscopic sensor it will get the job done.

Software

Each device needs to pre-install the Google Expeditions app, which is free and can be downloaded to the mobile phone via the Playstore or iOS.

Internet Connection / WI-FI

A special advantage of Google Expeditions is that there is no need for the student's mobile device to be connected to the Internet but simply to the school's local Wi-Fi. All in all, no internet connection needed during the lesson as long as the teacher has already pre-dowloaded the Expeditions of his choice at his own device (ideally a tablet as mentioned before)

HMD ( Head Mounted Display)

The HMD is the device that will host the smartphone allowing the viewing of the 3D scenes that it generates.

There is a huge variety of HMDs out in the market ranging for a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. A solid option is the official Google Cardboard that can be bought from the official Google stores online and cost around 20 dollars. 

Verdict:

Despite its disadvantages (mainly in relation to the degree of limited immersion and the dizziness that can be caused to the user because of the prolonged use), the device seems to be an opportunity to integrate VR into the classroom's setting given the wide spread of smart phones and its positive elements. It is certainly a tool that would help boosting the students’ engagement  while at the same time helping them gain a better understanding of the lesson.

Published in Virtual Reality