The list tools which enable the creation of virtual reality learning experiences is growing. Engage is on this list and has the potential to help teachers begin experimenting with delivering lessons in VR.
In late May and early June, a small group of the Charming Project researchers were lucky enough to attend the 5th Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) Conference which was hosted by the University of Westminster in central London.
One of the things that stood out about the conference was the diverse background of participants which included academics from the world of games research, psychology, computer science, education and industry.
As someone who has been following the virtual reality space since 2016 and trying to apply it to classroom teaching in an authentic and useful way, it is great to see the progress being made with authoring tools which require little development know-how. These tools empower educators to use their creativity and experience to focus on developing engaging learning content without having to worry too much about coding, 3D modelling and all the other complexities that come along with Unity3D or Unreal development. Perhaps the best example of one of these self-authoring tools being shown at iLRN was Engage.
Engage is a tool that allows anybody with a VR headset to develop immersive learning experiences in virtual reality without having to know how to code. This offers a starting point for educators or trainers who are interested in the potential of virtual reality as a tool for instruction without having to spend large sums of money. With a ‘freemium’ model, it is even possible to start using Engage without having to spend a cent. Another attractive feature is that Engage is platform-agnostic, meaning it works on almost all devices.
In addition to their authoring tool, Engage has some of their own “AAA” VR learning experiences which cover topics such as Titanic VR, 1943 Berlin Blitz, and Apollo 11 among others.
We're delighted that 1943:Berlin Blitz won Best VR Experience last night at the Broadcast Digital Awards 2019. We did this in collaboration with the @bbc, in which we used real archived footage to help recreate this historic event. #WeWon #VR @BroadcastDigi pic.twitter.com/ThvtURbKMC
— Immersive VR Education (@vreducation) July 4, 2019
Although we had the chance to try out Engage, we have yet to test the platform extensively and determine its educational value. But from what we have seen, it looks user-friendly and may be part of the solution to enhancing the teaching and learning experiences of both adults and children.