1. Step back in time
For me, experiencing a story in Virtual Reality (VR) can feel a bit like hiking a trail. As you progress past lookouts, vistas and soundscapes you can also notice your own body responding to the journey; adapting pace, breathing and pose to the circumstances.
Signposts may suggest ways of experiencing the trail, but it is up to the hiker to find their own rewards along the way.
In that light, VR makes us complicit in the unfolding of the story and by doing so it makes the past appear as present time - a sequence of events that is constantly unfolding around us. Quite the opposite of thinking about History as something that is static and buried in the past.
2. INTERACTIVE: VR and you
Click to see a breakdown of the pysical and emotional effects of VR.
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4. Relive the Easter Rising
Step into one man’s memories, into a moment that changed Irish history forever – the 1916 Easter Rising.
Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel enables users to relive the experiences of Willie McNeive and learn about a moment that changed Irish history forever: the Easter Rising of 1916. Through VR, users travel back to Dublin, and meet the 19-year-old Willie. The experience uses McNeive’s eyewitness account of events in the General Post Office – a recording of which lay undiscovered for over 30 years. Through a remarkable, and very personal insight into this key moment in European history, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel presents an artistic journey into the memory of an ordinary man who was swept up in extraordinary events.
5. Ask the experts:
Hype, or here to stay? We asked professionals to give us their opinion on the use of virtual reality to experience history.
Jonah Hirsch, Producer, Anne & First VR films
“History goes from being a passive experience to an active one, and that makes all the difference. I believe VR will be as integrated in our lives as smart phones have become. I expect within three to five years VR will be in many, many classrooms around the globe. There will always be books and lecture halls - they just may not be in the form as we understand them today.”
Dr Christie Carson, University of London
“There is a danger in believing that these constructed worlds represent reality, rather than a simulated and controlled experience of the world made by artists and technicians.”
Glenn Gunhouse, Georgia State University
“I find that students accustomed to computer games want to do things in the virtual space, rather than just to look at what is represented in them. I feel some pressure to provide activities within a VR building, when what I really want students to do is to look at it carefully.”
Eric Wilkins, School History Teacher
"We must be careful, not to overly rely on technology in the pursuit of historical understanding. In order for students to develop their historical skills, what really matters are rigorous discussion and debate, the close analysis of texts and sources."
Maria Korolov, Technology Reporter
“How we see history will absolutely change. Instead of it being something we've learned about, as it is today, it will become something we have personally experienced.”