In my experience, kids learn best when we can take a concept out of a textbook and make it real. Hands-on and experiential learning helps kids better understand and retain information whether it is doing a science experiment to better understand a concept, visiting a museum to see a piece of art up close, or using manipulatives to understand numbers.
As homeschool parents, we have lots of opportunity to give our kids those types of experiences. My kids think it’s kind of weird when we have a day of just reading a textbook without some sort of hands-on experience!
But, it is a challenge to get hands-on when studying certain subjects. How do you give kids experience with things like planets, the organs of the human body, or exotic ecosystems?
Technology has put almost everything at our fingertips. Using the internet, we can find information about anything. Using virtual reality, we can go anywhere. Using augmented reality, we can bring anything right to us where ever we are.
While the internet is easily accessed and relatively affordable to most of us, virtual and augmented reality has always seemed like a far off, future technology too complicated and expensive for the average homeschool family to use.
Bringing Virtual Reality To Homeschool
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Recently, I was introduced to MERGE VR. MERGE VR uses a simple cube, VR goggles, and cell phone apps to bring a virtual and augmented reality experience to kids.
At first, I thought “Oh what a great concept! Bringing virtual and augmented reality to education. That will be great for schools and organizations that can afford that kind of technology.” To me, VR was still something unattainable for the general public.
Then, I took a closer look at the total package and then the price!!!! I knew I had to get my hands on the MERGE VR cube and VR goggles! I am not sure when I’ve been so excited about an educational resource.
I am partnering with MERGE VR to introduce it you and promote all it can do to enhance your homeschool experience. My kids cannot put it down!
What is MERGE VR?
The basis of the MERGE experience is the MERGE cube. The MERGE cube is, well, the company’s website says it best “the hologram you can hold in your hand”. The cube doesn’t appear to be anything special until you download one of the many apps designed to be used with the cube.The apps make the cube come alive.
When viewed through your phone’s camera, the cube takes on a different form depending upon the app being used. For instance, when using the Mr. Body app, the cube can become a heart or a lung. When using the explorer app, the cube can become Mars or the Sun. Using the Dig! app, you can mine and build your own world on the cube (think Minecraft).
The cube can be rotated to look at a heart or planet at all angles. It gives kids a hands-on experience with things they could never touch without augmented reality.
One of the best parts of MERGE VR….the price! The cube that makes the magic happen is available (at the time of posting) for only $14.99 on their website!! And the VR goggles (not necessary for all applications, but really cool) are just $29.99!!! Most of the apps are free and others are very cheap. So, you can get a total VR or AR experience for less than $50!!!
Using Virtual Reality In Education
MERGE apps can be used with just the phone or with the VR goggles
Within minutes of opening the box, my daughter was experiencing a game in augmented reality. She downloaded a game app and used the cube to move a ball through a maze. Soon, my kids were fighting over it…and they are teens!
View this post on Instagram
3 minutes out of the box and the kids are already experiencing augmented reality thanks to @merge.vr . Look for lots more about this amazing toy/STEM resource. Check out the IG story for more. TIP: This would make a great Christmas gift!! #mergevr #stem #augmentedreality #virtualreality #christmasgift #homeschool
What I love about MERGE VR is the ease of access, quality, and price. They have made the latest technology accessible to all. MERGE VR allows kids to experience games, objects, and places on your cell phone using an app and the cube or just the VR goggles. No other special equipment is necessary.
We used the Mr. Body app to move through the human body, hold organs in our hands, and learn more about them. Then, we used the Explore app to move through our solar system. We held planets in our hands and observed their moons close up.
These apps give kids access to things that are normally out of reach and makes subjects come alive. What a great educational tool!
The MERGE VR apps, also, take kids to far off ecosystems, through space, on a dinosaur dig, and tons of other places. New apps are being added all the time that cover a wide range of topics. Check out MERGE VR’s homepage and their education page for more information on how you can use MERGE in your homeschool.
Be on the lookout for more of how we are using the MERGE cube on social media and on the blog in the coming months!
In the meantime, follow MERGE VR on social media!