Event: HackMIT 2020

Virtual reality has the potential to be a very powerful learning tool, and we believe that it will be easier to apply to education, if started early and used with society's youth. Our team has created a Virtual Reality Sandbox environment for younger students who have a visual or physical learning style.

There's a mother who teaches Kindergarten through 4th grade regularly. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, she has had plenty of struggles keeping students engaged in their education. This is primarily due to the absence of physical interaction from the classroom. His mother has been using educational websites such as "CoolMathGames" to provide an educational experience while keeping her students engaged and entertained.

Our idea is to have a virtual play-space (aka, a Sandbox), which contains a variety of educational-based activities for these younger minds. Activities could range from problem-solving tasks, math problems, or other positive reinforcement tasks such as picking up litter. The purpose is to strengthen positive skills.

Alongside that, every person (and every child) works differently. Some of us a visual learners, while others are not. This solution would be intended to assist in helping students during COVID-19 times that learn best from visual and/or physical learning styles.

Examples of furthering the idea and project:

A. Build a tower 2 meters tall. The child will have to figure out which objects in the play space they need to put together to complete the task. It may use flat, round, or oddly shaped objects…and gravity exists.

B. Sorting. The child is given a large bucket of items. The task will be to sort them into various categories (aka, physically place objects into different buckets). [by color, number, type, etc.]

C. Math. Presented with various math problems, involving 3D objects. Example: 3 trees, plus 5 trees, equals a forest…how many trees are in the forest?

D. Quizzes. Example: The child watches an educational video on a topic. Then, to quiz their knowledge, each quiz question has 4 different 3D models. They can "grab" their answer. Specifically: Which animal was "Wilbur" in Charlotte's Web? Answers: Pig, Spider, Cow, Goose.

E. [COMPLEX] - Tracing/spelling. The child is learning how to write. They are given a "pencil" and presented with a picture of the letter/word they are learning to write. Their task is to write the letter/word repeatedly until the in-simulation handwriting detection (machine learning) recognizes the letter or word they are trying to write.

F. [COMPLEX] - Typing practice. Essentially make Typeracer but in VR.

Disclaimer, we are acting on the assumption that educational institutions would have VR systems (such as the Oculus Quest) to loan out to students.

Tools Used

Unity3D, Visual Studio [C#], Cinema4D

Known Bugs

  • Not a fully working checklist (this was something that was put on the back burner to allow time for other problems that came up)
  • Whack-A-Mole game: Timer is

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