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Engage students with virtual reality tools.

Virtual reality is becoming the newest buzzword in education. And it's no surprise, with so many free VR tools available to bring new experiences to your students, all from the comfort of your classroom.

SimpleK12's top tech experts developed these quick 3-minute videos to help teachers like you stay current with new technology. Each video outlines the basics of how to use a new tech tool in the classroom.

Are you ready to learn something new? Remember to click through to the end to discover a new resource on each page.

Let's start out with this fun tool from Discovery VR.

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The primary intent of this virtual reality content is for it to be experienced with a virtual reality device, such as an Oculus Rift. However, it's unlikely many of us have access to such expensive technology in our classrooms. Which is why it's great that Discovery VR content is also completely accessible via videos on their website.

Stalk prey alongside lions on the great plains, fly with manta rays under the sea, surf on some of the biggest waves you've ever seen.  You and your students can experience this and more with Discovery VR.

Next, let's take a look at another tool from a world-class resource. Click over to the next page to see for yourself.
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Explore the world and immerse students in unique scenarios.

In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver video, SimpleK12 technology trainer Monica Burns introduces the incredible virtual reality tool NYT VR.

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All it takes is a smartphone. Go underwater or on the campaign trail. Experience life through the eyes of a refugee or explore previously unseen worlds. Experience stories reported by award-winning journalists, all told in an immersive, 360-degree video experience.  - About NYT VR
Utilizing virtual reality tools allows you to expose your students unique experiences they likely would not have otherwise. These experiences in turn open your students' minds and allows them to expand their world views.

Next, we'll showcase a tool that lets your classroom explore their wild side.
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Unlock your classroom's wild side with a free zoo tour.

Discover exotic plants and animals from around the world from the comfort of your classroom -- let's take a virtual zoo tour.

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Take a look at the video above as SimpleK12 subject matter expert Monica Burns takes us on a virtual zoo tour at San Diego Zoo Kids.

This website lets you tour live animal cams so you can see different animals in action in real-time. If nothing too exciting is happening at the moment, there are also video clips you can share with students so they can get a look at the animals in action. There is also plenty of additional information about each animal, including their habits, diet, and conservation status. All in all, this site is a great resource for students to learn more about exotic animal species, all within the safe boundaries of your own classroom.

Coming up, let's look at another VR tool that explores the wonders of the natural world.
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A video channel to impress both you, and your students.

In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver video, education expert Monica Burns explains how to use National Geographic 360 to bring virtual reality into your classroom. Explore giant sequoia forests, underwater national parks, or even the content of Antarctica.

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Watch as Monica runs through the highlights of this free video channel, and explains how to get the most out of it. With a source like National Geographic, you can expect only the highest quality content inside these video chips.

These videos are sure to WOW your students. Which was your favorite?

Last but not least, let's jump over to one more source of stunning virtual reality content.
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A virtual reality tool for Chromebooks, but not JUST Chromebooks.

In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver video, education expert Monica Burns explains how to use CNN's VR Archives to engage your students with virtual reality videos.

Take a look behind the scenes at a famous movie studio, plunge into the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean, jump on a sail boat in New York City's Central Park - these high definition videos are sure to captivate one and all.

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Watch as Monica outlines the basics of this resource, and covers how to effectively use virtual reality with Chromebooks.

While this video does focus on using this resource with Chromebooks, you can also use it on laptops, projectors, or even mobile devices such as tablets. So don't be afraid to try it out on whatever type of device you have available in your classroom.

Which virtual reality tool was your favorite? Leave a comment for me below.

When you're ready for more, take a look at these on-demand training sessions from SimpleK12's Teacher Learning Community.

Each session, once completed, comes with a certificate of completion and a CEU.

Getting Started with Virtual Reality in Your Classroom. Virtual reality tools let students experience the sounds of the ocean, view the ground on Mars, and stand at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This technology has become an easy-to-use, affordable way to energize your lessons. Join Dr. Monica Burns as she shares her favorite tools for teachers and students so you can get started with virtual reality in your classroom!

Around The World in Eighty Days: Virtual Field Trips on Your Chromebook. Field trips can be a fantastic learning experience for students. Unfortunately, due to cost, time constraints, distance, and other issues, field trips are not always practical or possible. Thankfully, Chromebooks make it easy to avoid these restraints with virtual field trips. Join Meri Martin as she shares a collection of sites and tools that will let you and your students experience the world without leaving the classroom.

Virtual Explorations and Field Trips with Google Tools. While Google is widely known for tools such as its search engine, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Gmail, many of its lesser known tools can be just as useful for teachers. This session covers several of the street-view products that provide a unique, up-close view of everything from art museums to the Great Barrier Reef to the White House, and many others along the way. Join Jerry Swiatek as he shares these tools and explores how they can be used in the classroom for almost any subject.

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Which site are you trying first? Let me know your favorite in a comment on this article.

About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics, and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at editor@simplek12.com.


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