Mobile Device Based Virtual Reality

Research has shown that Virtual Reality is able to greatly improve learning in many ways, but, high-end headsets are not as practical to provide to each member of a group of students. For this, there are a wide variety of virtual reality headsets that are much more affordable because they are not doing any processing of information or even display. These tasks are left to the mobile phones that are stored inside the headsets. These headsets are limited in what forms of interaction users are offered but are much less prohibitive in cost and connectivity. While High-end headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift offer better tracking and immersive controllers they also must be wired to a computer and are more limited in number because of the high cost of headset and computer needed to run the headset.

These phone-powered headsets such as the Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, and third party, google cardboard powered headsets (pictured) are all available for you to try out here at Towson University.

With these headsets, you can access a huge and ever-growing pool of VR apps as well as view VR videos, many of which are designed for instruction. These experiences lack the ability to use in applying based learning objectives because of the inability to accurately give users input. For example, surgeons that use VR to train would want to use a higher end system that features tracked controllers. As for Creating based learning objectives, this technology is perfect for the creation of software to use on the headsets but they don’t have the same ability to create for artists. Where higher end headsets offer painting apps that are made 3D artwork incredibly intuitive, this is not possible without the 3D tracking and precise controllers provided by those headsets.

Luckily, many of the instructional uses of VR headsets are nearly just as effective on these cheaper headsets though. For example, the understanding and evaluating learning objectives that are most ubiquitous in instruction are accomplished very well by these affordable headsets. These objectives are important in every field and having the technology to easily provide this experience to students can greatly assist their learning.


Just a few of the experiences that offer unique learning opportunities are as follows:

  • Firstly, in the school of Business and economics, you can demonstrate the effectiveness of virtual reality tours of real estate or vacation locations in apps such as Viewport VR Real Estate or Ascape VR: 360° Virtual Travel.
  • In the school of Education, you can always use the apps above as virtual field trips but there are also other instructional apps such as VR Math that especially help with tangible subjects like geometry understanding.
  • In the school of Fine Arts and Communication, these headsets can give students the ability to view 3D art in apps like 3D Viewer or watch VR videos easily on YouTube with channels like Lufthansa.
  • In the school of health, students can use VR to view the human anatomy in apps like Human body VR 3D or learn about infections up close in apps like Bacteria interactive VR 3D.
  • In Liberal Arts, you can use VR to consider how to improve communication skills in apps like Public Speaking VR or use virtual field trips to give students a new appreciation for a culture.
  • Finally, in the school of Science and Mathematics, this technology can be used for VR software testing and creating new applications for VR but also it can help the understanding of science using apps like VR Solar System and videos like NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover at Ogunquit Beach.
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Mueck, Christopher*