Space Explorer in VR for Secondary School Students
“Education is not the filling of a pail, it is the lighting of a fire”. -Williams Butler
A problem in education
Students have to endure lessons which they have no interest in, either the lessons are abstract or the lesson material is boring. A disengaged student learns poorly.
The team wanted to bridge this gap with immersive tech. We selected VR (virtual reality) because it gives the student more presence, this way they can visualise the abstract concept of space and infect them with a curiosity that will drive further research.
We settled on building an app that works with the Google cardboard SDK. Since we were building for students, we wanted it to be as accessible as possible.
Understanding the end-user of our solution was the first step, after discussions, we developed a user archetype (aka user persona).
Knowing what we wanted to solve was the first step. We also had to build the app within the time we had left for the hackathon.
Unity3D required the Google Cardboard SDK. We also decided to use pre-existing assets to build the Space Explorer environment. We were able to get a Unity project for download complete with behaviour scripts and animations.
We iteratively added features. Prioritising improving the user experience by slowing down planetary revolution speeds (making it easier to select a planet), using high resolution graphics etc.
Demo and Presentation
Some users had difficulty using the interaction feature of the app. Either it swung too fast to view the planets or they couldn’t select a planet to hear the audio narration with it’s information.
If given the chance, we hope to do more testing, improve the user experience and write better content.
The hackathon hosted by Imisi3D was a singular experience. The 3 days and great people were all the fodder needed for us to explore and deliver interesting applications.