//VR in Education: 3 Key Questions Teachers Should Ask Before Introducing VR to the Classroom

VR in Education: 3 Key Questions Teachers Should Ask Before Introducing VR to the Classroom

Earlier this week, through a partnership with Pilot City, InstaVR got to train four teachers from Alameda County on using Theta Vs + InstaVR in the classroom. Beyond the teachers learning an emerging technology, we at InstaVR got insight into how teachers view VR, and the questions they have before deploying it. 

The educational world obviously has a lot more nuance than the business world. Whereas companies are generally driven by profit, teachers have to balance competing needs (restrictive budgets, teaching to multiple students at one time, limited classroom time periods, etc). What we learned is that teachers are very interested in new technologies, particularly since their students will likely have to learn them for certain workplace jobs. And VR, if predictions are correct, will be a huge industry by the time many of the students graduate from either high school or additional schooling.

The four teachers — one who teaches Entrepreneurship/Marketing, one Digital Media, one Video Production, and one Tourism/Hospitality — are excited to introduce VR to their students. But they did have many good questions. So we thought we’d share the three most important ones brought up in the discussion that are really applicable to all teachers looking to add VR to their curriculum.


1. What equipment do I need for my students to create VR experiences? 

There’s a general belief that creating VR is a difficult process. In fact, thanks to simple-to-use 360 cameras and drag-and-drop InstaVR, creating virtual reality is accessible to even middle schoolers. Here’s a quick equipment list with some thoughts:

  • 360 cameras: There are no shortage of traditional camera companies that have gotten into the 360 camera business. And the cameras keeping getting better, often at lower price points. The new Ricoh Theta V, released in September, has not only 4K video, but also spatial audio. What we suggest you do is read the review sites or comparison sites to see what features the various cameras have and lack. There’s enough feedback on most sites now to make an informed decision.
  • Computers: You’ll need laptops or desktops to transfer the files from the 360 camera prior to upload to InstaVR. Do keep in mind that many Chromebooks don’t allow for data storage, so it’s better to have full laptops with local storage.
  • An Internet Connection: To utilize InstaVR’s web-based Console.
  • InstaVR: Your class can start on our Free version to make very small apps that are watermarked. And then when you’re ready to create your actual VR apps for the classroom, purchase one or more InstaVR Pro licenses. Licenses can be loaded on one or multiple computers, but students can’t simultaneously be logged in. We also have generous classroom discounts for 10+ license purchases.
  • VR Headsets (Optional): To display your VR, you’ll want to purchase one or a few VR headsets. You can get lower end Google Cardboards for under $10 each. On the medium priced range, you can purchase iOS or Android specific plastic headsets for $10 – $20 each. And on the higher end, assuming you can get a grant, you can invest in Gear VR or HTC Vive headsets. To read all about the platforms we publish to, visit our publishing output page.
  • Tripods/Selfie-Sticks (Optional): For capturing VR, most of the 360 cameras allow you to simply hold them. But for a more professional quality, you’re going to want to invest in a tool for holding
  • Camera Cases (Optional): Most of the 360 cameras come with a case for carrying them around. But when in use, the lenses and bodies of the cameras are still in danger of scratches, dropping, etc. Some of the camera companies, as well as peripheral makers, sell hard casings for the cameras. It’s worth the investment if you’re loaning the cameras to students!


2. What types of VR should my students be creating? 

You know you’re interested in adding VR to your teaching mix. You’ve bought a few 360 cameras and had your students sign up for InstaVR. But what kinds of apps should your students be making? The answer obviously depends.

For our Alameda County teacher externships, the answer was relatively straightforward. They each teach specific courses where VR is being used by professionals already. For Entrepreneurship/Marketing, for example, you have the students simulate that they’ve formed an agency business, and how they would pitch a local business or organization on the benefits of VR. The students can then make a Proof of Concept app they would show to that business.

The key thing about creating an assignment for students is to give them a goal for the VR to achieve. Something like “Create a VR app designed to promote a new business in town” or “Create a VR app to educate fellow students on a subject” or “Create a VR app to showcase a charitable organization in town”. If you just ask them to create 360 media experiences, but you don’t specify a goal for the VR, you’re severely limiting the learning opportunities. Let their creativity go wild, but give them some direction.


3. How can my students share their VR?

Obviously, after putting in all the effort to create VR experiences, you want your students to be able share it within the classroom and to others. As discussed above, there are a lot of approaches to distribution. We’ll cover some of the more popular ones used in the classroom below:

  • Google Cardboard: A very cost effective VR headset that is durable and gets the job done. The most popular headset on the market, Google Cardboards can be given to the students to keep or used across multiple classes. Google will occasionally sell discounted Cardboard headsets to classrooms, but they can also be purchased on Amazon for less than $10 per headset.
  • WebVR: Even if your students don’t have headsets, they can still experience their 360 media via the Web. You can embed InstaVR created VR experiences directly onto web sites, making your potential audience for your students’ projects anyone with an internet connection. Do note that WebVR also works on mobile phones, both Android and iOS.
  • Samsung Gear VR/Google Daydream/HTC Vive: This is the most expensive option. In most classrooms, you’ll likely only be to afford one or maybe two of these headsets. But they’re high-quality and should last a long time. Students can sequentially experience the VR using these headsets, and then pass along to the next student. While not he most efficient approach, it is the best way to experience your quality VR experiences.



VR for Education is an exciting space. There’s so many possibilities for using the immersive technology in the classroom. From teachers creating virtual field trips to students creating VR businesses to budding videographers filming 360 films and music videos. And it’s engaging! The students lean in because the technology is new and interesting and engaging.

As discussed, before starting a VR curriculum, you’ll want to: 1. Decide what hardware and software you’re going to need to be equipped to make VR 2. Decide on what the goal is for the VR your students are creating and 3. Decide on the distribution method, including any headsets you’ll have to purchase.

Funding is always an issue at schools. But as VR becomes more mainstream, school districts are starting to allocate funds for emerging technologies. When asking for funding, it’s important to have a very clear plan on what you’ll need and how it will be used. By addressing the above three questions thoroughly, you’ll be well positioned to request the money to make VR in the classroom possible.

Good luck!

2017-11-06T21:11:25+00:00 October 20th, 2017|General|