Using Virtual Reality in Lessons

by Susan Gaer

Whether you teach English language learners or adult secondary education learners, you need to think about ways to integrate technology into the lesson. There are many technology integration matrixes, such as SAMR, TPACK and The Technology Integration Matrix from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. However, all of them have in common the fact that integration is more than substitution of one technology for another. I have developed a lesson as a model of this type of integration. It creates an online model using Google Docs, Google Forms, and Thinglink along with audio and video. I hope that this model is something that other teachers can build on to make their own highly integrated lessons.

This lesson uses the concept of Google Hyperdocs. Hyperdocs are worksheets created in  Google Docs, with 21st Century improvements. I have not included standards or rubrics because I think that this lesson is applicable for a variety of levels which would use different rubrics and standards.

I tried this activity in a high beginning ESL conversation class and it was very successful. I modeled it for students, then had them do it in pairs. Students were very excited to be able to take the task sheet home to practice it on their own outside the class.

Materials needed for this lesson

  1. A Google account
  2. Google Cardboard
    (it is not required but really makes the lesson much more amazing)
  3. To monitor student performance, duplicate all the documents from the
    task sheet.
  4. You can use my padlet account which is linked to the assignment sheet, or
    make your own.
  5. Students should have a quizlet account to do the bonus assignment 


Get the Task Sheet on Google Docs

When you are ready to use this lesson you will want to make a
copy of this Assignment Task Sheet.



Explore Interactive Lesson Preview

Editor’s note: We took a moment to create a quick ThingLink to provide
a quick preview of the components of this task right within this post.

Lesson steps

Since this is probably the first time students have used virtual reality, you will need to do extensive modeling and scaffolding. Project the task sheet so that you can show the students how to move around.

  1. Show the students how to click around by taking them through each task and showing them how to use it. Note: The 360 photo is best viewed on a Google Cardboard. These can be purchased for $10.00 each. I have five for a class with five groups.
  2. Divide the students into groups. Each group should have one smartphone to view the VR section. All other sections can be done on a phone, tablet, or computer.
  3. Have them find the task sheet either on their phone, computer or tablet.
  4. Once they get to the 360 section, it is possible to navigate it on a flat computer surface, however, Google Cardboard takes it into a whole new dimension. Viewing with the cardboard, puts the students into the image. As they move around holding the cardboard to their eyes, the image moves with them. As they move to the hotspots, it automatically opens a video or audio clip. Make sure to have them note that after they finish the 360 image they need to remove the phone from the cardboard and continue with the task sheet. This will teach students navigation basic

Although this activity might seem daunting at first view, it’s worth trying as you and your students will both enjoy it!


About the Author

Susan Gaer

Susan Gaer is a ThingLink Certified Educator and Certified  Trainer in southern California who has brought a wealth of experience and expertise to ThingLink from the lens of her role as an adult education ESL instructor at Santa Ana Community College in Santa Ana, CA.Susan has played an important role in the development of the ThingLink Bootcamp, after helping to facilitate our first session, and following up by offering her own Bootcamp. Now retired, Susan is the President-Elect of CATESOL where she continues to inspire educators. You can contact her at @sgaer on Twitter.


“Getting certified as a Thinglink instructor changed my life. My ESL students love visiting places and creating 360 Photos. Image tagging is the next step for my students” —Susan Gaer



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