MERGE EDU Platform - Day 31 of #31DaysofARVRinEDU
I’m thrilled to provide the #31DaysofARVRinEDU event! Each day in March will include an augmented (AR) or virtual reality (VR) resources to bring into the classroom.
I've saved one of my favorite ARVRinEDU tools for last! While MERGE has gained awareness these past few years on their headset and cube, the new release of the EDU Platform coming this week is going to blow your mind.
What is a MERGE Cube? The MERGE Cube is made of a foam material that is small enough to fit in your hand. When using specific apps, the cube can transform into, well, anything. The cube magically turns into a multitude of 3D objects seen through the camera on your device. While most experiences are available on the App Store and Google Play, you'll also find MERGE apps available on the Microsoft Store. I'm most excited about these resources being available on laptops because it's one of the most commonly requested platforms for AR/VR.
Do I need a headset? There are few occasions that I actually use my headset with AR/VR because it's so much easier to hold my device up and explore. The one exception is when I'm using a headset to explore MERGE apps. While it's not required to have a headset, it does help in some situations.
When I try to demo MERGE Cubes with educators, sometimes I need a third hand available to help me hold the cube while I hold the device and use my other hand to interact on my screen. The headset has an opening for your device camera to allow both VR and AR experiences. I've listed some reasons that the MERGE headset has stuck out as my favorite viewer for the classroom. In addition to the advantage of using the headset with the cube, the bonus of a more immersive experience is an added benefit!
If you're looking for the best price, I found the MERGE headset available at JourneyEd for $23.99.
What is the EDU Platform? The new MERGE EDU Platform includes the beautiful combination of curriculum and AR/VR experiences. There are many times I share resources to add in the classroom, but I'm asked how to incorporate these activities in the lesson. MERGE has built the curriculum with the standards for your classroom lessons, and while the students are exploring the content, they can deepen their understanding with AR and VR explorations in the MERGE cube.
The EDU Platform will contain the Explorer app (shown above), the new Object Viewer app (coming soon), lesson activities and a teacher dashboard. The classroom will now reap the full benefits of using immersive technology with the support, guidance, ideas, and resources to bring your curriculum to life.
What kind of content is in the EDU Platform? I have early access to the beta released of the Explorer app to demo at conferences. Some of the content is available, and some content is still in the works. The first published modules are included in the slideshow above. More content is scheduled to release this summer and again at the beginning of the school year. If you think you've seen all that MERGE has to offer, you're wrong because they're just getting started!
When can I access it? While I can't quote the exact day, I can confirm that the new EDU platform is scheduled to release this week. I know you'll be excited to jump into the new platform and if you're interested in getting the cost for your campus, you can get more information here.