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Coding can be a creative and exciting activity

C3D is a browser-based VR (Virtual Reality) coding platform originally developed at Langara College as an answer for these questions.

With C3D,a browser-based VR (Virtual Reality) coding platform, students can create a virtual reality world with coding blocks, then experience their own creation in 360-degree VR with a phone and a very affordable cardboard headset.

The school we went to was a house. Literally, a house adapted to be a school or so I thought. I was honestly expecting a real modern building (duh!). There were tons of Spanish students, gorgeous girls using these mini skirts and dresses in the ‘Brit’ unpredictable weather. It took me many years to understand the weather there; I even wore thermal underwear in mid-summer during the first year! Oh, dear! But then, England was always pictured as a cold, foggy, humid country.

Coding can be used in cross-curricular PBL (Project-Based Learning)

Key terms:

  • Virtual Reality – Three dimensional images or environments that are generated by computers and software
  • 3D modelling – Designing of three dimensional objects

C3D has been used in grade 4 to 12 classrooms in BC and I would like to share my observations in some of those classrooms.

Coding Virtual Reality in a grade 6/7 classroom

As the first step, students used C3D’s self-learning tutorial modules to learn to code. Children today are familiar with three-dimensional graphics from video games and having VR as an outcome of the code had an immediate effect. They watched a video and followed the instructions step by step. The classroom teacher was there watching them and she was amazed every child in the classroom was so engaged in coding. Coding was a necessary process to create their own VR world and they were eager to learn how to do it.

Because C3D’s preview window gives students immediate visual response when you make a change in the code, students could learn with trial and error intuitively.

Of course, they wanted to see their creation with the VR cardboard headset. So, there was a line to use shared phones and headsets.

A grade 7 girl asked me if she could show what she created to her family. I was happy to tell her that her VR world is actually a website with a URL that she can share with anyone. (Later, we added a button to share the URL instantly.)

C3D’s interactive self-learning tutorial module

A grade 6 girl asked me if she could continue making her VR world at home. I told her of course she could. Because C3D runs on a browser, she can access it from anywhere as long as she has a computer with internet connection.

Student’s creation: Airport (When you focus on the white airplane, the airplane starts rolling and eventually takes off)

Coding virtual reality in a grade 7 class

In this class, the learning goals included 3D modeling as the first step. They used a free 3D modeling platform, Tinkercad, to design a 3D object. This process took one period. Then they imported it to C3D to animate it in their own VR world in the second period. What this meant was 1) 3D modeling is not just for 3D printing in the learning environment, and 2) Students can use their own 3D models as a tool for 3D storytelling in the VR world.

As this class was doing an inquiry about “Space Exploration”, many students chose to create a space-themed 3D model and animate it in a starry night 360 background.

The teacher projected each student’s VR world on a screen using a full-screen mode of C3D, and the student explained their learning in the inquiry while their VR animation played.

C3D can be used not just as a platform for coding education, but as a tool for 3D storytelling in cross-curricular activities like this.

We come in peace (The UFO flies around the sky with ominous sound)

Me explaining what VR is and what it can be used for in a classroom at Gleneagles Ch’axay Elementary School

Coding virtual reality in a grade 9

In this 90-minute lesson, students started with an intermediate self-learning tutorial module to onboard themselves with VR coding. Then, they created their own interactive VR animation. All students used their own mobile phone, and cardboard headsets the teacher provided to enjoy VR animation they had created.

This one-time class was more for inspiring the students about the possibility of future media and coding. As they started to view their creation in 360-degree VR, I heard many wows from around the class.

Some picture from a VR coding workshop at Burnaby South Secondary School

We are learning from use cases in schools to improve C3D.

Tomoko Okochi

Instructor at The Urban Camp and Langara College
CEO and co-founder of Codeca

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