Low-cost Smartphone Virtual Reality Headsets for English Language Learners - An exploratory and practical workshop
Virtual Reality has been used as a training tool for several decades in various domains, including language teaching, but because of the technology’s high cost and bulk its use has been limited to special labs and research projects, rarely making it into the hands of the average learner in the classroom. However, the presenters believe that VR is set to enter the EFL classroom en masse thanks to the invention of Google Cardboard, a low-cost VR headset for smartphones, along with the high incidence of smartphone ownership, especially amongst high school and university age learners in Japan. With freely available software learners will be able to practice language, experience English language content, produce English language content, and prepare for study abroad programs immersively. In this workshop, you will have a chance to experience Google Cardboard and these applications for yourself. How this technology may be used as an effective learning tool both now and in the near future will also be discussed, with specific focus on how role-plays, asymmetrical language tasks, and study abroad pre-departure preparation may be carried out through this medium. As a participant in this workshop, you will have the opportunity to learn about Google Cardboard from both the instructor and learner perspectives. We hope that, through this experience, the engaging nature of smartphone VR, as well as the possibilities this technology holds for stimulating and challenging learners of all levels will be made clear.
NB Could all intending participants please download the following apps to their smartphones. This will allow everyone to participate better and each person to be able to use a VR headset:
1. Google Cardboard
2. Google Streetview
3. Google Expeditions
Chris Hastings is a part-time lecturer at Aichi Shukutoku University, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Nanzan University and Nagoya College. His main research interests are game-based learning and CALL. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Brunotte is an associate professor at Aichi Prefectural University. He is currently undertaking research in the field of CALL and the use of virtual reality in the classroom, as well as health-related behaviors and their effect on classroom achievement. He can be reached at JoshBrunotte@gmail.com