This is how they look
Magic comes to class when you pull out those bulky, cool, trendy Oculus Rift. As soon as I found out that we got two of those in my school, I knew that I had to use them in class. It turns out that it can be a great tool for the Foreign Language course, and many ideas come to mind as to how they could be implemented in the classroom, so here I am sharing it with you!
But, first things first, some of you may have never heard about this. What are the Oculus Rift? According to their Website, the Oculus Rift is a new virtual reality headset that lets players step inside their favorite games and virtual worlds. A gamer’s dream, as you may think, but what about a learning motivator to add some spark to your course?
Certainly, the Oculus have plenty of potential. In my case, I have decided to make them become my own “language lab”. Since I do not have a language lab close to my room, I think that this tool could be a good temporary solution.
It is quite easy to start using them. Check out this link for a step by step explanation.
The Oculus come in with a Demo. In my case, I had the Tuscany Demo already on them. I have not downloaded any other game yet, but I am sure that there is a world of possibilities out there if you decide to go over the options provided in their system.
So, given that this is a house and you get to walk in it, what can we do with it in the Foreign Language class? You got it, house vocabulary, prepositions, directions! That’s what I did.
When wearing the Rift, you can turn and look around, but you cannot walk. In order to do so you must use the keyboard in your computer. So, I used this to my advantage requiring students to indicate the directions they wanted to go to next. Yes, an excellent way to apply the command tense (L’impératif) and prepositions. This is how I proceeded:
1. Teaching the impératif.
2. Reviewing prepositions.
3. Reviewing the parts of the house.
4. Multiple exercises in class prior to using the Oculus.
5. Oculus listening and speaking!
* Since I only have 1 oculus, I made sure that my other students had exercises to work on while I was conducting the speaking assignments.
In #5 these were the requirements (all in the target language, obviously):
1. Students describe the scene.
2. Students respond to teacher’s questions: Where are you? Do you like it? How is the weather? What is to your left? What is in front of you? etc.
3. Students direct the teacher to wherever they want to get to in the scene.
4. Toward the end of their experience, student locates an item in the house.
5. Student explains to next student how to get to the item that he located (scavenger hunt type of way)
6. Next student tries to find the object and confirms with previous student if it was the item that he had selected for the “scavenger hunt”.
Note: When using this demo, I highly advise you to limit each student’s intervention to a maximum of 4 minutes. Most of us (including myself) get motion sick after 4 or 5 minutes. I do not know if this happens with all games in the Oculus, but this is my experience with the Tuscany Demo. Also, please make sure that you tell students to let you know if they want to stop at any time if they are feeling sick.
Do you want to see it in action? Check out this video created by my favorite Educational Technologist, Lee Howell, and check out her blog here.
And you, have you ever used the Oculus Rift in your class? If so, what did you do with them? If not, how would you like to use them? Please, share and comment below.
Have a wonderful, oculus magicus lesson!