Virtual Reality is here, and with it follows the wave of demands that comes as a natural next step of any new emerging technology. True to Palmer Luckey’s initial vision for the Oculus, the gaming side of things has clearly been the demand most emphasized in the first few months of its inception. Gaming won’t be the only saving grace for this industry though, and informative experiences and educational VRapps have recently begun digging their claws into the main stream market, as several leaders have been looking to mobilize the tech for educational purposes:
- At the Oculus Connect in San José, Oculus and Facebook committed 10 million dollars in investments for educational content creators.
- Last year, the Obama administration launched a massive competition for Virtual and Augmented Reality developers to support career and technical education (The Edsim Challenge):
“I’m calling for investments in educational technology that will help create. . . educational software that’s as compelling as the best video game. I want you guys to be stuck on a video game that’s teaching you something other than just blowing something up.” – Barack Obama
Today, we’re going to be covering everything from new innovative journalism, art and biology to space exploration and ancient creatures from the Mesozoic era. It would seem like the wave of educational content is here, and we are happy to take a stroll through the library with you, as we have hand-pick the finest Educational VR apps currently online. Let’s take a look!
Sharecare was launched to make it easy for anyone to get educated in, and appreciate an understanding of the human body. By giving you an anatomically accurate VR model of the human body, you get to immerse yourself in everything it’s capable of. Simulate diseases and customize the physiology to your hearts content. The educational content is growing rapidly and we have written extensively about the project here. Pick it up if you’d like to see what first class VR-based biology class is like.
Developer: Sharecare, Inc.
Anne Frank House VR takes us back to 1942 during WW2, where Anne Frank, a teenage jewish girl is forced into hiding to escape the viscious nazi occupation. Her story is heralded as one of the most famous of the horrid regime, which is why it is often used for educational purposes, and not just in VR. Born in germany, she lived most of her life in or around Amsterdam. Her story is one that should never be forgotten, and you owe it to yourself to give this one a download, hard as it may be to get through it.
Developer: Force Field
Humankind has looked to the skies for answers, ever since we drew our first breaths as an independent species. Our obsession with the great blue sky and its unrevealed mysteries has since then taught us how to navigate the seas, understand the concept of time and even climb inside winged ships of steel and wires, and set sail towards the planets beyond. Mission: ISS is to date the most detailed and elaborate space-oriented educational app for virtual reality. If you have the heart of a young Neil Armstrong or the pulse of a Sally Ride beating in your chest, this educational VR app for you. In its emmy-nominated glory you get a first-hand impression of what it’s like to be an astronaut, and you get to play around in zero gravity as well.
Chemistry is one of those parts of the educational high school curriculum that you either happen to fall madly in love with, or not wanting to touch with a 6-foot poker. The reason for that is that chemistry is a field of study that shouldn’t just be memorized, but understood. The team over at MEL Science has launched what is to date one of the best educational VR apps on the subject of chemistry, and if you happen to be among those of us who never really understood the subject matter as well as you would have wanted – now is your chance. Dive into a world of molecules and immerse yourself in a world of matter in a whole new way.
Developer: MEL Science
Universe Sandbox is, truth be told, more of a simulation environment than an actual VR app for education. With that said, there’s so much interesting content going on inside it, that we just had to give it a mention. The app essentially gives you the power of an omniscient creator diety, as you get to create and destroy life at an impossible scale. Create climatize and obliterate life in this horrifying but beautiful piece of software. It’s by no means accidental that the app has had so much success since its launch back in 2015. A massive experience, regardless of whether you use the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift for your VR educational purposes.
Developer: Giant Army
The VR Museum of Fine Art is a must-download VR education app for those of you out there who has an appetite for the art-lovers out there. As a matter of fact – even if you’re not that much into the Mona Lisa’s or Michaelangelo’s, you owe it to yourself to take it for a spin anyway. Step inside, and have a look at what the future of art galleries could potentially be like.
Developer: Finn Sinclair
1943 Berlin Blitz takes you on a trip with the crew over at BBC as you embark on a Lancaster bombing crew during a raid over Berlin during one of many campaigns in World War II. Described as harrowing and sorrowful, as well as cinematically gorgeous, this should be a first-download for any lover of history out there.
Developer: BBC Media Applications Technologies Limited
To start things off, we’re taking a look at one of the most promising apps for education when it comes to the freshly formed cocktail of new-journalism and VR-based content. The New York Times have teamed up with the guys at Samsung to bring you a ground-breaking new app for your phone, that delivers a daily dose of 360° video straight to you smartphone, so you can experience the news like never before. Educational VR apps takes many shapes and sizes, and there’s a massive breadth of content available of all genres. For the ones out there interested in journalism and world news though – this one is a first-on-list download for you.
Moving on to Unimersiv, one of the most prolific names in the educational VR space, and has almost become synonymous with quality content. Unimersiv has a large list of educational experiences available. They lives the philosophy that virtual reality is meant to be more – much more than figuring out how many bad guys can be gunned down before the bell rings you out.
With a massive library of educational VR apps in their wake, they’ve helped us explore the iconic ISS space station, re-visit the glory of the Titanic before the iceberg, and helped us have a rendezvous with ancient Rome.
“We want to make learning something new fun again so we built the first Virtual Reality learning platform to help students of all ages learn anything faster through virtual reality.” – Unimersiv
One of their latest experiences – “A Journey Into The Brain“, takes you on a guided tour throughout the most complex unit of the human anatomy, with guided narration and a calm flow. This is definitely worth checking out if you have any interest whatsoever in biology.
Moving on from educational VR apps of visiting ancient cultures and exploring the human brain, to something entirely different. It’s time to talk about language, and the way we learn to express and articulate ourselves. Learn Languages VR is a new and exciting way to learn language “from the comfort of your couch”.
If you want to learn a new language on-the-go, but don’t quite have the time to pack your bags and travel to whatever that destination might be, Learn Languages can help. The app itself presents you with realistic dialogues inspired from real life events, and contains to this day, 28 languages that you can pick up and take for a spin. You won’t be the first to do so either, as Mondly (the platform all this is built on) has a whopping 5+ million downloads on a global scale as of April 2017!
It’s time to take a look at what’s up next – Our Dinosaur Era. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and explore the ancient world of the dinosaurs. If you have a paleontologist’s exploratory heart beating inside, this one is definitely a worthy download. If we take a look at the only other app with this particular theme right now – the Jurassic World: Apatosaurus (built by the talented team over at Felix & Paul), it becomes quite clear that this one is in no way ready to compete on a visual level, but that’s not where the strength of this app lies. The strength of Our Dinosaur Era, is its breath of content, and family-friendly narration.
“A Great VR 3D Dinosaur exploring app for everyone in the family. 5/5” – POP 2Review
While a heavy load of education based Gear VR apps tend to focus on just being visually flawless, but short, this one actually provides a bit more content and substance which is nice for a change. Take it for a spin if you’re interested in prehistoric reptiles, and want to gain some perspective of just how impressive these primordial creatures were.
Boulevard (Previously Woofbert) is an app that attempts to bring you closer to the world’s finest works of art, without having to jump on an airplane to venture out and see the real thing. Virtual reality’s greatest strength is its ability to transport you places, and allowing you to digitally experience that which is currently out of arm’s reach. The team over at Boulevard realized this, and with the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook they knew they had to strike immediately. Educational GearVR apps can help us experience many things up hand in living form, yet not all things worth experiencing in 3-dimensional space are living creatures or dynamically shifting environments. Sometimes, it’s experiencing the visceral works of art from the world’s leading museums.
“Netflix for the Arts” – Forbes
What Boulevard is doing, is giving you access to the world’s most iconic museums, so you can experience leading art exhibitions from the comfort of your own home. Here at the editorial, we took at trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum in VR, and experienced a solid 30 minutes browsing the art gallery and listening to the museum curator telling us the stories behind each piece. Truly, a phenomenal experience. This VR app for art appreciation and education is a must!
Let’s move on to something quite different from education apps about art galleries and dinosaurs. We’re changing theme, and now it’s about time we went for the really really small. The Body VR truly is one of the most visually stunning apps we have on our list today. The purpose of the experience is for you to man a vessel as you explore the wonders of the human body and its billions of living cells. You travel through the bloodstream and learn everything there is to know about how blood cells work to spread oxygen through the human body. You also learn just how your body reacts when it’s faced with deadly viruses.
At The Fork VR is one of the most basic-level experience of all of the educational GearVR apps on our list today. It’s an experience that takes you on a big tour of the farms and enclosure of the 2016 documentary film “At The Fork“. On the tour you’re teaming up with the ever-talented Lisa Versaci, as your walk through the farms and get to greet all of the animals that currently living there. This is definitely one for the youngsters out there!
It’s time. Pack your bags and leave all earthly memories behind. If Neil Degrasse-Tyson could take a pick on this list to crown as his favorite – this one would be it. With the most scientifically ambitious of our educational VR apps, we’re going to venture out into black night sky and explore the miracles of space.
Titans of Space is an exploratory application that lets you explore deep space to learn and understand just how massive and wondrous the galaxies of space really are. With beautiful background music, and an almost “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey“-like flow to the pace of the experience, you are sure to be in for a treat if there’s any kind of appetite for learning to be found in you. The visuals are absolutely stunning, and the perspective and size ratio is accurate, which is flabbergasting once you see them for yourself!
If you are one of those who never really found educational history books about ancient egypt quite as interesting as the idea of packing your bags and heading off on an adventure to see the pyramids for yourself, you may want to download Nefertari: Journey to Eternity. The VR experience lets you step inside the tomb of Nefertari and bask in the story of its beautiful artistry, its majestic history and fascinating construction. As far as educational VR apps goes, this one is a must-own, and one to show your kids while you’re at it!
Developer: Experius VR
Educational VR Apps
That’s a wrap folks. We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of educational VR apps and that you’re hungry for more content, as the list will be updated as we move towards the end of this year. If you have any recommendations as the months go by, let us know in the comments section or on social media, and we will take your considerations into account when it’s time for an update!