Gain a greater understanding of history by stepping back in time to the Roman Colosseum and touring it as a class just as it stood 2500 years ago.
The final consideration is the limits of video conferencing and the result has come to be known as Zoom fatigue. From Advisory Board:
More Americans today are using online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom to host work meetings or chat with friends and family. But the constant use has spurred complaints of so-called “Zoom fatigue,” and researchers say the condition’s causes go beyond just having too many virtual meetings on our schedules, Betsy Morris writes for the Wall Street Journal.
How does a college or university get started developing a virtual reality digital twin campus?
First, find a developer. There are a handful out there right now, but the technology is still a bit nascent, so there are not a lot right now. Of course, VictoryXR is always willing to have an initial conversation.
Second, get buy-in from administration. This is a far smaller project than raising a new physical building on campus, but the impact is likely to be much bigger. So, administration needs to embrace the effort.
Third, find a handful of professors willing to teach a lab or a few classes in virtual reality on the digital twin campus. While age does not matter, a true embrace of new technologies helps and a natural curiosity is a big benefit. Three to four professors is a great starting point for the launch.
Fourth, decide what buildings need to be a digital twin and which classrooms can be branded from existing pre-created classrooms. This is the single biggest factor in cost. The more buildings or classrooms that need to be developed as digital twins, the more expensive the process gets. If you can choose a couple key buildings and perhaps an iconic quad/commons, this will keep the cost down, rather than recreating every building. In the VictoryXR model, we already have many classes created, so rebranding the auditorium, planetarium or science lab is more efficient and less costly than starting from scratch.
Five, professors work with the VR curriculum team to converttheir lessons into a VR environment. This is important because lessons need to be reimagined with assets that may not be available in the real world. For example, in the real world, human cadavers are expensive. In the virtual reality world, every student gets to hold a human heart in their hand.
Six, invest in the professional development to train professors how to teach on a digital twin campus. This includes using the platform, managing a class, manipulating objects, moving around and loading media. While this may sound complicated, our high school science teacher — Wendy Martin — will tell you it took her about 3–4 hours to be comfortable with these tools. So, it’s not too big of a lift. In fact, VictoryXR has created a full suite of professional development lessons inside of the virtual reality experience.
Seven, choose your hardware. The Oculus Quest 2 is the least expensive headset at $300 each, but it requires each headset to be tied to a personal Facebook account. If this doesn’t work for your campus, then consider the Vive Focus Plus, or the Pico Neo II. These range in cost from $600-$800 each. The key is, they are all 6DOF headsets, which you need for true spatial learning. These are all powered by Qualcomm chips that are the industry standard right now for mobile graphics computing. The Quest 2 also has the latest Snapdragon chip which integrates 5G into it. Do not settle for an inexpensive 3DOF headset for virtual world learning and your digital twin campus.
However, for medical-grade graphics — useful for the sciences and healthcare fields, there’s no better headset than the HP Reverb 2. The sharpness and clarity of this headset leads the group. It will need to be tethered to a graphics computer, but the graphics computer along with the HP Reverb 2 should cost less than $2500 per station. For students conducting professional-grade procedures or experiments, this is the only way to go.
Eight, have a training day for students. Remember the first time you sat down at a computer and began finding your way around. It took a couple hours. Remember when you first got behind the wheel of a car, it took a few weeks. It’s the same with VR, students will figure it out quickly — especially the gamers, but having an afternoon where students are trained and come to know and understand their way around a virtual reality campus is a great orientation.
That’s about it. While I cannot speak for other development teams, at VictoryXR, our team will hold your hand through the process. Our curriculum specialist, Rene Gadelha, has helped many educators come to understand how to seamlessly integrate VR into a teaching environment and she uses her friendly charm to bring along even hesitant educators.
Colleges and universities will begin rapidly adopting digital twin campuses over the next 2–5 years. Early adopters will benefit from first-mover advantage.
INTERESTED IN A TOUR of the VictoryXR campus? Learn more or sign up at: www.VictoryXR.com/campus.
Steve Grubbs is the founder of VictoryXR, the world’s leading virtual reality curriculum company. He is a former Chair of the House Education committee in the Iowa Legislature and has degrees in finance and law from the University of Iowa