The technique we have developed uses emerging and inexpensive consumer technologies and software. In combination, this allows us to record, transfer, and play 360-degree video to teachers using mobile VR headsets; with or without the need for any cables, electricity or the internet. The technologies in use are increasingly becoming mainstream, making it essential that we anticipate these trends and undertake research ‘today’ into how best to frame, guide, support and implement their use ‘tomorrow’.
Our pilot kit comprised six items, although in theory if the teacher were able to use their own smartphone with the headset then only two (a headset of some sort and a 360-degree camera of some make) would be required – the tripod, USB charger and headphones just make things easier, especially in situations where there is noise (so the smartphone speaker cannot be heard), have no power (phone and camera may require recharging) and no make-shift method of supporting the camera. This equipment is fully mobile and easily fits into a small bag or satchel.
Our approach involves a number of teaching practice-related and technology-related stages. Two key stages are the recording of the video and, once transferred to the smartphone, viewing the video on a VR headset. The following graphic describes these and is illustrated with images from the pilot.