The Top 10 Educational VR Apps of 2018

2018 has been a great year for immersive technology in education. From the launch of the affordable Oculus Go headset to the transition of the Merge Cube from toy to educational tool to the plethora of ARkit and ARcore enabled experiences that launched on mobile devices, there has been a wealth of opportunities for educators around the world to begin integrating AR and VR in classrooms like never before. Whilst mobile developers seem to be focusing more squarely on AR-enabled content, there have been some stellar virtual reality experiences released for the Vive, Rift and even WMR headsets.

Berlin Blitz

I actually produced a “Best of the Year” list last year (which you can find on my site but I specifically focused on educational apps for the Vive. For this year’s list, I’m expanding the range to include other platforms as some excellent content has launched outside of the Steam VR Store. I will only be including apps that were actually released during 2018 though and I would highlight the fact that every app on this list was personally selected by me and this list does not represent the views of VRFocus as a whole.

Before we take a look at the Top 10 itself, I want to give honourable mentions to five apps:

Honourable Mentions

Sharecare VR – This excellent app launched late in 2017 but I didn’t try it in time to include it on my list last year. Being able to stand inside a beating human heart is a breathtaking experience that literally echoes the educational future portrayed in Ready Player One.

Kolb Antartica Experience – A great idea and I love the interactivity with the penguins but it only lasts about three minutes at present. I’ll return to this in 2019 to see how it has developed.

Robotics in VR – This app lets you build a giant Lego EV3 robot then program it to move around a warehouse-sized maze. It’s still early-access but well worth a look.

Dreams of Dali – As weird as you’d expect but great for art students looking for a new perspective on the work of Salvador Dali.

1943 Berlin Blitz – Brilliant use of historical recordings to bring this moment to life in VR. It’s annoying that the app insists on the use of a gamepad controller though!

With the honourable mentions out of the way, let’s dive into the actual Top 10:

Top 10 VR Education Apps 2018

1. Number Hunt (Vive/Rift/WMR)

I absolutely loved the Number Hunt concept as it’s an excellent example of gamification in action. Taking the format a first-person shooter, you find yourself hurtling around a range of vibrant arenas that are populated by anthropomorphised numbers. Your aim is to make target totals before your opponents by shooting these numerical NPCs with a gun that can apply each of the four operations (add, subtract, multiply, divide). It’s great fun and a totally unique approach to practising maths.

2. Nanome (Vive/Rift/WMR)

In the popular SAMR model for technology integration on education, the highest level (Redefinition) is defined as “technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.” Virtual reality seems to achieve this quite easily, especially when using an app like Nanome – one of the most exciting scientific apps to launch in 2018. Nanome allows the user to interact with an enormous range of chemicals and proteins like never before. It supersizes nanotechnology as if the student was Ant-Man and offers huge potential both in the upper levels of schools, higher education and beyond. Best of all it allows for multiple students to collaborate within the same space!

3. Nefertari: Journey to Eternity (Vive)

Ancient Egypt is my all-time favourite topic to teach and so I’m always eager to try new Egypt-themed VR experiences. This one really did raise the bar though. The app allows you to walk through Queen Nefertari’s tomb, guided by some first-rate narration and interaction points teach students about the history, culture and construction of the tomb. It also boasts some incredibly crisp visuals thanks to the use of super-precise digital scanning and unlike some other Egyptian tomb apps, it’s not terribly dark, which can be off-putting to younger students. It really is great to see educational content being produced with such polish and detail.

4. Becoming Homeless (Vive)

I actually had to double check the release date on this one as I was convinced it came out in 2017 (it was actually launched January 2018.) Stanford VR Lab set the benchmark when it comes to empathetic VR experiences and exploring how VR affects us as human beings and Becoming Homeless is a great example of this. It’s a short but potent experience which sees you step into the shoes of someone who can no longer afford a home. As your situation worsens, you experience the harsh realities of life on the streets first-hand. Powerful and moving, this app can easily be used as a stimulus for writing, a discussion piece in the social studies classroom or an experiment in the psychology classroom.

5. Hold The World (Rift/WMR)

Produced by Sky and featuring the living legend that is Sir David Attenborough, this is unlike any other virtual museum app out there in that it focuses on interaction. This summer I took my kids to The British Museum in London and some of their favourite parts were the various stations where you could actually handle artefacts under the guidance of a resident historian who would explain the significance of each object. Hold The World offers a similar experience at London’s Natural History Museum with the unparalleled Sir Attenborough as your guide. Having selected the object you wish to learn more about, you can then focus on specific parts and dive deeper into its story. Incredible and fascinating in equal measure.

6. Google Tour Creator (Web)

Tour Creator is a web-based tool for building interactive, multi-scene virtual tours. Whilst it’s similar to several other pre-existing platforms, it streamlined the creation process (and made it free) so that it is by far the most accessible tool for educators looking to integrate simple 360 tours across the curriculum. Completed tours can be viewed in stereoscopic mode on iOS and Android devices and it also boasts Google Poly integration for easy sharing of projects. Like many other educators, I hope that it will also integrate with the Expeditions platform in the near future. It may be the only app on the list that isn’t a 6DOF, room-scale experience but Tour Creator offers a great stepping stone for educators new to VR.

7. Apollo 11 VR HD – (Vive/Rift/WMR)

I nearly left this high definition re-release of Immersive VR Education’s landmark title of the list since the original version was a launch title for the Vive and Rift back in 2016. I changed my mind though since even those who have tried the original will find fresh awe and wonder in this stunning update that serves as a testament to how far IVRE have progressed in such a relatively short space of time. The addition of new demo modes which allow you to choose specific scenes from the full experience are also useful for educators looking to facilitate larger groups. Essential stuff.

8. Anne Frank House VR (Rift/Go/Gear)
I’m a huge proponent for using VR to allow students to travel in time and walk through history and this is a superb example of just that. Produced in association with The Anne Frank Museum, this richly detailed experience recreates the infamous Secret Annex where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding for more than two years during the Second World War. Historically accurate and punctuated by quotes from her diary, it is a truly powerful way to engage young historians with one of the most important stories of the last century.

9. The Kremer Collection VR Museum
I love the whole concept of virtual museums and galleries allowing people without the means of visiting the real places to engage with exhibitions like never before. 2018 saw the release of the Kremer Collection VR experience which many feel raised the bar. This virtual gallery contains more than 70 classic works of Old Masters like Rembrandt rendered in stunning detail and allowing you to get closer than ever before. Each is accompanied by both text and audio, a simple but important accessibility feature that enables a broader range of ages to engage with the artwork.

10. HoloLab Champions (Vive/Rift)

I remember watching previews of this Chemistry themed app from Schell Games in 2017 and thinking it looked fantastic and it didn’t disappoint. There are several virtual lab sims out there nowadays but none offer such a student-friendly approach through the clever gameshow framing of the science. Students are challenged to complete experiments quickly but also safely to become a Champion and unlock various achievements. It’s a canny mix of entertainment and education that is often lacking in other more serious titles and it’s an incredibly engaging way to let students hone their practical science skills in a safe environment.

Hold the World: Edukative VR-Erfahrung für Naturwissenschaften mit Sir David Attenborough

Sky veröffentlicht mit Hold the World eine neue edukative VR-Erfahrung für Oculus Rift mit dem Naturforscher Sir David Attenborough, welcher besonders durch seine Dokumentarfilme bekannt wurde. Der 92-Jährige führt die interessierten Zuschauer/-innen in den Hallen des Londoner Natural History Museum auf eine interaktive Reise in die Welt der Naturwissenschaften. So erhaltet ihr neben zahlreichen Informationen auch virtuelle Einblicke in Museumsbereiche, welche unter realen Bedingungen so nicht zugänglich wären.

Hold the World – VR-Bildungsapp für Oculus Rift

In der Lernapp Hold the World könnt ihr euren naturhistorischen Horizont erweitern und in den virtuellen Archiven des Londoner Natural History Museum stöbern. Dabei dürft ihr diverse Fossilen, Tier- und Dinosaurierskelette unter die Lupe nehmen, während euch der sympathische Dokumentarfilmer mit reichlich Informationen zu eurem Objekt versorgt. Dazu zählen interessante Erläuterungen über die Lebensbedingungen und typische Verhaltensweisen der entsprechenden Arten zu Lebenszeiten. Besonders herausragend ist dabei das einnehmende 3D-Abbild von Sir David Attenborough. Während seiner Erläuterungen entsteht ein realistisches Präsenzgefühl der naturwissenschaftlichen Koryphäe am Tisch.

Zur besseren Immersion könnt ihr eure Fundstücke von allen Seiten betrachten und in der Größe verändern. Die 3D-Objekte wurden per Fotogrammetrie aus den Originalbeständen des Museums archiviert und auch die Innenräume wurden auf Grundlage des Verfahrens virtuell für die VR-Erfahrung rekonstruiert.


Dadurch erhalten die interessierten Besucher/-innen nicht nur Zugang zu neuen Wissensquellen, sondern dürfen sogar in Museumsgebiete eindringen, die der Öffentlichkeit sonst verwehrt bleiben. Dazu zählen unter anderem die Bibliothek, das Archiv sowie ein eigenes Labor. Neben den zahlreichen Tier- und Pflanzenarten könnt ihr zudem kleine Quizeinlagen spielen und originalgetreue 3D-Animationen der Bewegungsabläufe der jeweiligen Spezies betrachten.


Hold the World für Oculus Rift ist für 3,99 Euro im Oculus Store erhältlich. Zudem ist eine Mobile-Version für Gear VR und Google Daydream verfügbar. Für Sky-Abonnenten wird die VR-Erfahrung innerhalb der Sky VR App kostenlos angeboten.

(Quelle: Road to VR | Video: Oculus YouTube)

Der Beitrag Hold the World: Edukative VR-Erfahrung für Naturwissenschaften mit Sir David Attenborough zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!

Watch David Attenborough Meet David Attenborough In VR

Watch David Attenborough Meet David Attenborough In VR

Hold The World, a brilliant educational VR app from Sky, features some of the best volumetric capture seen in VR today, bringing Sir David Attenborough to digital life. Need proof? Check out just how amazed the real Attenborough was to meet his digital self in the video below.

This VR app has been on display at London’s Natural History Museum for much of 2018, but it finally launched on the Oculus Rift last week. Using hundreds of cameras, Attenborough’s been faithfully remade in VR with alarming photorealism. You’re given a one-on-one meeting with the broadcasting legend, in which you get the chance to inspect precious items, usually hidden away behind display cabinets.

As you pick up objects, Attenborough points out areas of interest. You’re even allowed to resize items by stretching them out and, eventually, you’ll see them in action, too. It’s a tremendous example of the transformative power of VR education. You can get the experience on Rift for $3.99, though there’s no word on a release for other headsets right now.

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David Attenborough’s VR Experience ‘Hold the World’ Lands on Rift

Hold the World (2018) is an educational VR experience from Sky that lets you come face-to-face with Sir David Attenborough, the English broadcaster and world’s foremost naturalist, as he teaches you about a number of species going as far back as the Trilobite and as recent as the flea.

The interactive experience takes you to London’s Natural History Museum, and puts you in reach of a few rare specimens from its world-famous collection, letting you handle and resize the objects while Attenborough teaches you important facts about how the animals must have lived, ate, breathed, and more.

Attenborough is presented to the user by way of high-quality volumetric video capture, and he takes you behind the scenes to a few areas out-of-bounds to the general public. Like the items themselves, the environments have been captured using photogrammetry, allowing you to truly feel like you’re in iconic museum’s geology library, fossil lab, and herbarium.


Skeletons and fossilized specimens come to life as well, showing you a true 1:1 scale of how a Pterosaur must have flown, or how a dragon-fly independently controls each of its four wings as it makes its long migratory trips across the world.

At $4, the experience is undoubtedly one the best price to value ratios out there; everything is lovingly reconstructed to maximize for realism, truly making you feel like you’re sitting across the table with the affable and always knowledgeable Sir David Attenborough. It took me about an hour to complete, going through every animal presented in the experience and taking the few quick quizzes to go along with it. It’s truly something that could be made into a larger series, as I found sitting across from Attenborough and learning with the object in hand to be a really effective way of absorbing the information.

'Apollo 11 VR' Studio Partners with Shenandoah University to Create the Next Generation of VR Training Programs

Hold the World features no artificial locomotion (it’s a 100% seated experience) and comes with intuitive hands-on Touch controls which really makes the experience perfect for VR first-timers and experienced users alike.

If you’re a Sky customer and enrolled in the free Sky VIP loyalty program, you can access Hold the World for free via the Sky VR app in UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. If not, you can purchase the experience on the Oculus Store.

The post David Attenborough’s VR Experience ‘Hold the World’ Lands on Rift appeared first on Road to VR.

Go One-on-One with David Attenborough in ‘Hold the World’ VR Museum Experience This Spring

Hold the World, an upcoming VR experience from Sky, will let you go face-to-face with Sir David Attenborough, the English broadcaster and world’s foremost naturalist as he explains the finer details of some of the creatures in the world we call home.

The experience, which is slated to arrive on Gear VR, Oculus Rift and Daydream VR sometime this spring, takes you to London’s Natural History Museum and puts you right across the table from Attenborough.

Captured volumetrically by more than 100 cameras, Attenborough acts as your personal guide, explaining the importance of each artefact and object selected from the museum’s collection, including a blue whale, a stegosaurus, a trilobite, a dragonfly, a butterfly and a pterosaur.

image courtesy Sky

There, you’ll be able to pick up rare specimens from the London’s Natural History Museum and take you “behind the scenes to explore areas usually closed to the public,” a Sky blog post states.

Attenborough is no stranger to VR documentaries, as he’s lent his voice to several VR experiences including First Life and VR Dive.

”Sharing my passion for the natural world is something I have done for many years through different technologies, from the days of the black-and-white TV to colour, HD, 3D, 4K and now the virtual reality,” said Attenborough. “Hold the World is an extraordinary next step in how we can communicate and educate people about experiences they wouldn’t usually have access to in the real world. I am delighted about what users can learn and discover from the Natural History Museum’s treasures in this new VR experience – it really is one of the most convincing and bewitching experiences that the world of technology has yet produced.”

Hold The World will be available through the Sky VR app on Google Daydream View, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift, and will also be temporarily available as a standalone app on Microsoft Windows “Mixed Reality” VR headsets before it launches on Sky VR for other headsets.

The post Go One-on-One with David Attenborough in ‘Hold the World’ VR Museum Experience This Spring appeared first on Road to VR.

Trailer Released For David Attenborugh’s Next VR Project

Sir David Attenborough is collaborating with Sky Television and the London Natural History Museum on an immersive learning experience.

Hold The World Screenshot 01

The project was announced last year but now a trailer along with new details have been released. The virtual reality (VR) experience will allow users to immerse themselves in the London Natural History Museum in a one-on-one audience with the world-renowned, Sir David Attenborough.

Titled Hold The World, viewers will be able to get hands-on with virtual recreations of some of the oldest and rarest fossils in the world, as well as skulls and other bones belonging to extinct creatures. All of this is of course accompanied by Sir David Attenborough, who was filmed by more than 100 camera to allow for a highly detailed digitally recreation. Users will be able to pick up, hold, enlarge and expand the rare objects, offering unparalleled access to explore and learn about some of the world’s rarest natural history specimens.

Hold The World Screenshot 02

Talking about the project Sir David Attenborough said: ”Sharing my passion for the natural world is something I have done for many years through different technologies, from the days of black-and-white TV to colour, HD, 3D, 4K and now virtual reality. Hold the World is an extraordinary next step in how we can communicate and educate people about experiences they wouldn’t usually have access to in the real world. I am delighted about what users can learn and discover from the Natural History Museum’s treasures in this new VR experience – it really is one of the most convincing and bewitching experiences that the world of technology has yet produced.”

The experience is said to last between 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the how users choice to journey through the experience. A number of locations from the museum are available meaning a user is free to explore at their own pace and spend as much time with Sir David Attenborough as they wish. You can see a trailer for Hold The World below which offers a taste of the experience along with a short interview from Sir David.

Hold The World will be releasing in Spring within the Sky VR app on Google Daydream View, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift.

Other VR projects in a similar vain include the British Museum’s Two Million Years of History and Humanity project, which is available now on the Oculus Store and the VR recreation of destroyed artifacts from the Mosul Museum.

For more updates on Hold The World in the future, keep reading VRFocus.

Dave Ranyard: What Makes a Great Immersive Experience?

VRFocus sat down with Dave Ranyard, CEO of Reality Dream Interactive at Open City Documentary Festival to talk about what he’s working on now, how artificial intelligence (A.I.) will change storytelling and the pitfalls of interactivity in immersive technologies.

After twenty years of working at Sony on augmented and virtual videogames, Ranyard decided to set up Reality Dream Interactive. At the moment he’s working on a project called Hold the World with sir David Attenborough and the Natural History Museum as well as a couple of unannounced projects.

Ranyard explains in the video interview below how he’s incredibly excited to finally use his knowledge on A.I. as computers are now finally able to scale and compute in order to do something real. He also discusses how non-fiction VR films that are short and with good intent or approach to storytelling have  had a great impact on charities using them to showcase and educate the world on various topics. Ranyard also warns creators that if interactivity or volumetric VR does not necessarily make the experience better and can ultimately distract from a strong narrative.

To find out more about what makes a great immersive experience watch the video below.

David Attenborough To Host VR History Lesson

Sir David Attenborough is widely regarded in Britain as a national treasure. Entire generations have learned about the wonders of the natural world thanks to his dulcet tones narrating over magnificent sights of whales, insects, lions and gorillas. Thanks to a collaboration between the London Natural History Museum and Sky Television, Sir David will soon be bringing natural history to virtual reality (VR).

The new collaboration is titled ‘Hold The World’ and is said to be a mixture of videogame and TV documentary. The viewer will have the opportunity to get hands-on with virtual re-creations of some of the oldest and rarest fossils in the world, as well as skulls and other bones belonging to creatures that are long extinct, all narrated by Attenborough.

Attenborough had this to say about the project: “Hold The World offers people a unique opportunity: to examine rare objects, some millions of years old, up close. It represents an extraordinary new step in how people can explore and experience nature, all from the comfort of their own homes.”

As of yet there is no confirmed release date for Hold the World. The development team have said that it should be available for Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift. There is currently no word on what the price point will be.

The new project ties in to other VR experiences that have allowed VR users to get up close with history, such as the British Museum’s Two Million Years of History and Humanity project, or the VR recreation of destroyed artefacts from the Mosul Museum.

VRFocus will continue to bring you updates on new VR projects.