Edorble WebVR (check it out here) is a light-weight, experimental alpha build of Edorble built on WebVR technology, which makes it accessible right from a web-browser and viewable from Cardboard, Daydream, Rift, Vive, PC, Mac, or even mobile devices without an HMD. It's great to see so many of our Edorble Pioneers jump right and start exploring it, even though it's in its infancy. As always, we've tried to make it as easy as possible to create your own private online space, and to do this you just need to add a tag at the end of the URL and share your unique URL with students or colleagues.
We've built in a few early features (voice chat, shared 360 photo viewing, a synced news headline viewer, nametags, a 3D model gallery), and we're happy to add another to the list: image and caption uploading. You can now bring images from their computer, external URL, or a webcam into your Edorble WebVR world, and you can also add a caption beneath the image. You can convert slides and pdfs as image files and bring those in as well. Any other user that is in your environment will see what you've uploaded.
You might be thinking - what's the point of bringing traditional, 2D content into a 3D environment...isn't the whole point of a virtual world that it's 3D? This question actually gets to the core of how we think about virtual reality technology and the compelling value it can have for teachers and students around the world. The sense of togetherness, presence, and space fostered by virtual worlds on its own makes it a powerful social learning tool. We think this is true even when the only thing happening in the virtual world is a simple voice discussion, with no content besides people's thoughts and voices. The sense of space allows for more users to comfortably interact and feel "present" with each other in the same space, and it also lets classes and meetings easily and intuitively break into small groups.
That said, we do definitely think that 3D, immersive content is another promising benefit of VR, and that's why we launched our Edorble Creator Tools (they let people create their own Edorble environments) and why we have a little 3D gallery in Edorble WebVR that shows off how 3D content can look in WebVR. We'll putting a lot of thought into helping teachers and students create and use a wide variety of 3D content in their Edorble worlds.
As for 2D content like images and texts, the kind which you can now bring in to Edorble thanks to this new feature, this kind of content is and hopefully always will be one of the cornerstones of education and curriculum, and the rise of VR and 3D content shouldn't do anything to change that. For students, if checking out immersive content in VR comes at the expense of reading great books and essays, or looking at powerful photographs, I think that would be a woeful price to pay and a real problem. By letting students view this sort of "traditional" content in an immersive medium, we're making sure that they aren't just limited to 3D visuals. People have written lots of brilliant stuff and have made lots of compelling images. Some of it can transport learners to other places, time periods, and perspectives just as well as any virtual world.
Go ahead and try out the image uploader at edorble.com/webvr, and let us know if you have any questions about our products and services. If you have your own idea for 3D/VR app for learning or training, we also do development for clients that want a custom-built solution. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org