Getting Started with Virtual Reality in Adult Education

Tech tips
students using Google Cardboard

By Susan Gaer

Whether you teach English language learners or adult secondary education learners, you need to think about ways to integrate technology into the lesson. There are many technology integration matrices, such as SAMR, TPACK, and The Technology Integration Matrix from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. However, all of them have in common the fact that integration is more than substitution of one technology for another. I have developed a lesson as a model of this type of integration. It creates an online model using Google Docs, Google Forms, and Thinglink along with audio and video. I hope that this model is something that other teachers can build on to make their own highly integrated lessons.

This lesson uses the concept of Google Hyperdocs. Hyperdocs are worksheets created in Google Docs, with 21st Century improvements. I have not included standards or rubrics because I think that this lesson is applicable for a variety of levels which would use different rubrics and standards.

I tried this activity in a high beginning ESL conversation class and it was very successful. I modeled it for students, then had them do it in pairs. Students were very excited to be able to take the task sheet home to practice it on their own outside the class.

task sheetMaterials and preparation

  • A Google account
  • Google Cardboard (it is not required but really makes the lesson much more amazing)
  • Duplicate all the documents from the task sheet to your own teacher account so you can monitor student performance.
  • You can use my Padlet account which is linked to the assignment sheet, or make your own.
  • Students should have a Quizlet account to do the bonus assignment.

Lesson steps

  1. Since this is probably the first time students have used virtual reality, you will need to do extensive modeling and scaffolding. Project the task sheet so that you can show the students how to move around.
  2. Show the students how to click around by taking them through each task and showing them how to use it. Note: The 360 photo is best viewed on a Google Cardboard. These can be purchased for $10.00 each. I have five for a class with five groups.
  3. Divide the students into groups. Each group should have one smartphone to view the VR section. All other sections can be done on a phone, tablet, or computer.
    Have them find the task sheet either on their phone, computer or tablet.
  4. Adult Education students at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education using Google Cardboard to view 360 image.
  5. Once they get to the 360 section, it is possible to navigate it on a flat computer surface, however, Google Cardboard takes it into a whole new dimension. Viewing with the cardboard, puts the students into the image. As they move around holding the cardboard to their eyes, the image moves with them. As they move to the hotspots, it automatically opens a video or audio clip. Make sure to have them note that after they finish the 360 image they need to remove the phone from the cardboard and continue with the task sheet. This will teach students navigation basics.

Although this activity might seem daunting at first view, it’s worth trying as you and your students will both enjoy it!

Susan GaerSusan Gaer is a professor at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education, one of the largest non-credit programs in the state of California. She has been there since 1994. In addition, she is one of the series consultants for Project Success published by Pearson. Currently, Susan is on the boards of both CATESOL and TESOL. She is also an Academic Senator and a member of the CAI (Common Assessment Initiative) for ESL. She is an avid user of technology and advocates for more use of technology by presenting at conferences both statewide and internationally.


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1 Comment.

  • Carol Gonella
    January 23, 2017 6:18 pm

    Not sure what the “cardboard” is but I’ll give it a go and maybe on Thursday at DLAC you can show me what I’m missing.

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