Basic Introduction to Augmented and Virtual Reality Immersive Technologies.

Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 360° images or video are becoming more and more prevalent, but what are these technologies and how can they be used in education?

While there are other systems and tools available to aid your teaching practice, here is an overview of some of the options we are currently investigated.

Augmented Reality.

This is where additional content is layered over, and seen in conjunction with, the real world. For example, you could use your mobile device to scan a painting and receive extra commentary about the painter with links to a website for more information. Alternatively, at a main line station you could scan an image of a landmark, such as Nelsons Column, and get Transport for London (TfL) directions to the monument.

Further information:

Aurasma TED Talk:

Sunshine Aquarium:

AR Software Links:


Virtual Reality:

This technology aims to replace the real world using a headset and earphones. Here the user is surrounded by the content, it can be via a 360° documentary film, a story or a game animation and, depending on the equipment available, users will be able to interact with that content.

Gaming development is the obvious application here, but other uses could include tourism, property, journalism, marketing or healthcare, the list is almost endless.

Gaming usually requires a high spec computer and specialist headsets, such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, however, there are a lot of apps that will work on modern smartphones with earphones and a cheap cardboard or plastic headset.

Further information:

BBC Technology:

Alzheimer’s Research UK: A walk through dementia:

VR Links:

Apps (Apple and Android):

  • Google Cardboard
  • Jaunt VR
  • nytvr


360° Images or Video.

This technology is becoming very popular with the increasing availability of relatively cheap and easy to use cameras. The material can, as previously mentioned, be used as content in VR systems or, more simply, as an image or video embedded into a website.

The image or clip can then be watched and the view manipulated to look in any direction. The implications for advertising, marketing, travel, property or attractions are obvious.

YouTube now supports 360° video, which can be easily embedded in most Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platforms. Google ‘YouTube 360’ to explore some of the content that is currently available.

As an example, click the following link, then click and drag the video to change the viewing direction.

Alternatively, click and drag the image below.

Fusion Building 1, Second Floor –

FB Second Floor – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Further 360° Links:


So what are your thoughts on these developments? Please leave them in the comments section below.

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