Low-Cost VR for Learning

May 2016 - December 2016

Advisors/Collaborators: Matthew Kam, Neha Kumar

  1. Vishwanath et al. 2017. "Examining Low-Cost Virtual Reality for Learning in Low-Resource Environments." Paper in ACM Design of Interactive Systems (DIS) 2017.
  2. Aditya Vishwanath's Undergraduate Thesis. "Examining the Potential of Low-Cost Virtual Reality for Low-Resource Learning Contexts." A thesis submitted to the Georgia Tech Faculty on May 2017.
  3. Techwalla Reports on our VR Study.
  4. Georgia Tech's Digest and the College of Computing both feature our study as their cover story.

I spent my summer working with Google where we co-designed low-cost Virtual Reality-augmented learning experiences with and for an after-school learning center in Mumbai, India that caters to low-income children from neighboring communities. In partnership with staff members and students at the center, we spent 7 weeks co-designing, piloting, and iterating on VR lessons targeting 28 academic topics over a total of 15 classroom sessions. We found that VR was used to demonstrate real-world phenomena, illustrate abstract concepts, compare and contrast places in the curriculum against virtual landmarks, and motivate students. Most importantly, VR’s representational fidelity appeared to arouse students’ curiosity, leading them to ask more questions that reflected deeper engagement with the topic.

This HCI study involved using the Google Cardboard and the Google Expeditions Field Trips Application to study the potential of creating affordable virtual reality-based learning experiences for children in low-resource contexts. We also organized DIY workshops for students to design their own virtual reality viewers.

Tasks Performed:
  1. Curriculum design
  2. Making and designing a makerspace
  3. Ethnography and human-centered design
  4. Android development and networking