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CoSpaces – Virtual reality for everyone

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Create 3D worlds on a computer and then explore them using this app and, optionally, a virtual reality headset. Teachers and children can be creative as they bring aspects of their lessons to life in their 3D scenes.

Teacher Review

CoSpaces the app is a window into a world that is created on a computer using your usual browser. The app and the web-based software are two sides of the same experience so this review will consider the use of both of them separately and how they come together.

The app and the creation tools are linked together by the use of a log-in.  Each user needs a username and password.  Whatever they save on-line then becomes available in the app.  Needless to say, a Wi-Fi connection is essential, as is a way for each student to create an identity on-line.

CoSpaces' editor is simple to learn how to use.  Users will soon be able to start setting out the scenes that they have in their minds.  As with all 3D creation software, there is likely to be a short period where the user feels confused.  Creating three-dimensional content when you are not used to it always begins with a feeling of disorientation as you adapt to manipulating the view and components.

If you are familiar with creating in 3D then you will be pleased to hear that CoSpaces follows the usual mouse button conventions for adjusting the scene.  A decent variety of customisable elements is available to populate the scene. 

People and animals can be placed and easily adjusted. They are in a style of art known as "low-poly" which gives them an origami style aesthetic as well as allowing more of them to be included in a scene without over-taxing the device's processing power.

Buildings can be constructed out of predefined shapes including a brick wall and transparent window. The overall look of the scene is cleverly manipulated by picking a mood: daytime, foggy and nighttime. This is further adjusted by picking an environment: desert, a variety of wooded scenes and empty. Together these let the user create either a representation of a real world scene or a more abstract one.

Leaving the scene puts it into the cloud and the user can switch to the app.  Here the user can look at their creation as if they were within it.  In the most basic way, the user is placed at the centre of their scene and the device becomes a window into it.  Moving the device changes the user's view and touching the screen moves the viewpoint forwards.

The whole process of creation and viewing is pretty much seamless.  The ability to view the creation in such a novel way is a real reward for the creator.

A further feature of the app gets ready for the world of virtual reality.  The app can be connected up to one of the newly-arrived ways of viewing virtual reality worlds.  This might be something that you feel is going to be prohibitively expensive but the app supports the most frugal of the VR methods, Google Cardboard. A few pounds per item, and, perhaps, a craft session with a class of children, will see each handheld device become a VR headset.

So that's the process and it all works superbly.  What are its uses in the classroom?  Some of the app's examples give a few ideas.  Forts and armies can bring scenes of history to life.  Locations from plays and books can enhance understanding of how writers create scenes in the written word. Items can be laid out and labelled in different languages by EAL students.  In maths, more abstract scenes could develop understandings of area and volume.  Above all, it gives children the chance to use computers and mobile devices to create and not just to consume content.

CoSpaces looks like a platform that is going to grow.  Right now, it is already a delight to use and a great creative outlet that will have as many uses as there are teachers prepared to invite their children to become builders of virtual scenes.

Screenshots

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From the Developer

Want to explore VR? The CoSpaces app holds numerous virtual worlds for you to dive into. You can even create your own VR spaces on your computer and explore them with this app.

  • Various virtual worlds in one single app
  • The companion app to CoSpaces for your computer - create on your computer & explore with your smartphone
  • Login to view your own virtual spaces that you’ve created on your computer
  • Real-time synchronization
  • VR mode with VR headset
  • Gyroscope (360°) mode without VR headset

Visit us at https://www.cospaces.io

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