Researchers looking at the wider uses for virtual reality try out Oculus with school children.
The study conducted by youth research and development specialists Dubit reports that Oculus Rift VR is being well received by school kids, opening up possible educational uses for the Facebook bought virtual reality headset beyond the realms of gaming.
Dubit carried out the study with twelve children aged between seven and twelve years of age who played a variety of games using the first prototype Oculus Rift development kit.
“The overarching message from our sessions is that children love using Oculus Rift and felt immersed in the games in ways they’ve never felt before!” said Dubit’s head of research, Peter Robinson, “Comments along the lines of it being the best way to play games were common. Oculus VR may not see children as their core market but there’s no doubting the device’s potential popularity with kids.”
Robinson also points to evidence that the higher re-draw rate with Oculus Rift is combatting the known VR problem of motion sickness, ““We were glad to see that none of the children in our groups felt dizzy or ill after using the headset;” he said, “the only usability issues occurred when the children had to move their heads to look down and found the headset heavy. A couple of the younger children also reported fitting issues with the head-straps. With lighter headsets on the way we don’t see Oculus Rift causing many usability issues for young wearers.”
For Facebook, who envision a future where VR takes over from mobile Dubit’s report fortuitously also mentions Oculus could be a popular educational tool in the class room. ““Without prompting all children said they thought virtual reality would be great in their schools.” said Robinson, “They thought it would make lessons more interesting and allow them to take ‘virtual field trips’. But they wanted to do more than just visit new places; they wanted to go back in time and interact with people, like the Captain of the Titanic or people living in Tudor England and get their views on history. They were more interested about exploring history than changing it through gaming.”
Of course there was always a high chance that kids, just like gamers of any age, are going to find the immersive possibilities of VR seductive but given the interest in Oculus Rift as an educational tool taken from the study there’s some credence to Facebook’s VR aspirations for a wider audience than gaming.
What are you thoughts on this report? Do you think virtual reality has its place in the classrooms of the future?