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Top 6 VR Content Creation Tools for Education

One of the things we are passionate about at Lumination is supporting students to move away from being passive consumers of technology and instead becoming skillful creators and critical thinkers. With more and more VR apps and tools available every day, it can be overwhelming trying to find the perfect fit for your class or project. To help you out, let us introduce you to some of our favourite easy-to-use creation tools!

Our Recommendations


CoSpaces

Pricing: Free basic accounts, with the option to upgrade to paid Pro accounts

Why we love it: Easy to get started, and so much cross-platform support and educational scaffolding! Create and play using a computer, tablet or mobile device. View it on a standard screen, or jump into augmented or virtual reality with our VR/AR Education Kits! Students can build virtual worlds without touching code, or they can use CoBlocks or Typescript to add interactivity and develop their skills. Looking for ways to use it across the curriculum? Visit the gallery for inspiration.

What you need to know: Basic accounts have some strict limitations, including a reduced set of blocks available for coding, fewer library models, and a limit of two individual CoSpaces and one assignment per account at a time.

Situ360

Pricing: Paid (education licences available), with free trial available

Why we love it: Create professional quality immersive tours quickly and easily. Have students capture their own 360o photos and videos with one of our VR/AR Creation Kits, then use them to create immersive experiences! Add overlay videos, images, text and sound, and even embed quizzes to enhance the scene, create waypoints that lead viewers to the next scene in an exploratory way rather than being in a fixed sequence, and so much more!

What you need to know: There are no class management tools specifically, but students can invite you to view their projects privately or they can share their work with a publicly accessible link.

Pano2VR

Pricing: Paid (education licences available on request), with free trial available

Why we love it: If you’re looking for an immersive VR tour creation option that can be installed on your computer and used offline, here it is! With loads of tools for adding points of interest, overlay images and videos, text and sound, you and your students will be able to create immersive experiences easily.

What you need to know: Initially Pano2VR can look a little complex, but there are great tutorials available and with a bit of guidance your students will quickly become experts.

Vortals

Pricing: Paid, with free demo available on request

Why we love it: Another great piece of software that can be installed to your computer and used offline for creating and viewing VR and AR environments and tours. Vortals offers loads of fantastic features for easily adding interactivity, videos, images and 3D models to your scenes, plus it includes a node-based system for creating and easily keeping track of the possible navigation paths through your creation.

What you need to know: There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s easy to pick up and run with and there is a detailed user manual available to help you out.

Metaverse

Pricing: Free, with the option to purchase additional class management features

Why we love it: Interactive, multi-stage AR/VR experiences are constructed by adding and connecting nodes, which is intuitive and allows students to quickly create interesting projects. If you want your students to flex their coding muscles, they can create their own Javascript based additions. Metaverse is geared more towards AR experiences, but it supports VR too.

What you need to know: Creation takes place in your computer’s browser, but a mobile device with the Metaverse app is needed for testing and viewing. Also, teachers should be aware that students need to sign up for their own accounts and there are limited class management features. The ‘Collections’ add on can be purchased to assist with this.

Unity

Pricing: Free for individual students, with the option to apply for a free education license

Why we love it: A powerful, industry-standard tool that gives students the opportunity to express their creativity and build transferable skills. Unity projects can be deployed to multiple platforms, including web-based options, iOS and Android mobile devices, desktop computers and dedicated VR headsets. Not limited to VR applications, Unity can be used to create apps and games for many different purposes.

What you need to know: The learning curve can be significant, so best suited to more experienced students and those with an interest in delving into the nitty-gritty of VR and game development.



BONUS! 3D Modelling Tools

Help your students create truly custom VR experiences by introducing them to 3D modelling with some easy to use, entry level apps. Students can use their own models in the VR environments they create with CoSpaces and Metaverse, and could even 3D print them.

Tinkercad

Pricing: Free

Why we love it: Easy to access and intuitive to use, with minimal learning curve for new creators. Students can export their work in STL, OBJ, GLB (3D) and SVG (2D) formats making it suitable for many applications. Tinkercad is developed by Autodesk, who are well known for their array of powerful industry standard modelling, design and engineering tools including Autocad, Inventor, Maya, and 3DS Max.

What you need to know: Tinkercad can create precise models by using alignment tools and entering specific values for dimensions, but it does not offer the ability to add constraints like you would with more powerful CAD modelling software.

SketchUp for Web

Pricing: Free for G Suite and Microsoft Education users

Why we love it: Easy to access and use, SketchUp’s tools are similar to many industry standard CAD drawing packages, supporting students to develop skills that will transfer over to more sophisticated design tools and projects easily.

What you need to know: The free version only allows you to export in PNG (2D) or STL (3D) formats, and STL does not retain the materials and colours your students may have used in their design. Upgrades are available for other export formats.



Time to Start Your VR Creation Journey!

To get the most out of these apps, you’re going to need an easy way for your students to create their own 360o media and test out their VR creations. If you haven’t already, head over and check out our VR/AR Education Kits and VR/AR Creation Kits or get in touch with us for more information. We can’t wait to see what you and your students create together!

By Dr. Marissa Bond

01 Oct. 2020

Marissa develops exciting and innovative educational experiences for students and supports teachers in embracing cutting-edge technology in their classrooms. Marissa is an experienced STEM communicator and qualified teacher with a love of tech, tinkering and coding. In 2017 she completed her PhD which focused on developing and evaluating software using virtual people to help children with autism improve their social skills.

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