Masterclass Virtual Reality in het Onderwijs

Het VR Learning Lab heeft de Masterclass Virtual Reality in het Onderwijs ontwikkeld  waarin onderwijsprofessionals bekend raken met de huidige staat van de technologie en toekomstige ontwikkelingen. Je ontdekt de unieke eigenschappen van Augmented en Virtual Reality en bedenkt toepassingen voor in het onderwijs. We bestuderen bestaande applicaties en leren wat wel en niet goed werkt. In de masterclass werken we toe naar een eindproject, dat verschillende vormen kan hebben. Bijvoorbeeld een lessenserie over Virtual Reality in het kader van mediawijsheid. Of een projectplan om een AR applicatie te ontwikkelen voor uw onderwijsinstelling. Of je gaat zelf aan de slag met verschillende tools en maakt een verrijking voor eigen onderwijs.

Deze masterclass is gebaseerd op de kennis en ervaring die het VR Learning Lab heeft opgedaan door fundamenteel onderzoek, applicatie-ontwikkeling, doceren van onderzoeksvakken en het adviseren van verschillende scholen en andere organisaties.

Meer informatie en inschrijven op de pagina van de Masterclass Virtual Reality in het Onderwijs.



Virtual Reality anger induction

Psychology researchers often require participants to be in a certain emotional state. The Focus on Emotions group does research into effective anger management and needed a way to induce anger in children in a reliable and ethical manner. Motivated by the emotional effects Virtual Reality experiences, they asked Media Technology students to create a project.

Project Anger Induction is a Virtual Reality experience that aims to induce anger in children. The Gear VR / Google Cardboard app allows users to play an enjoyable game with Jasper, our digital avatar. While he might seem like a nice, cooperative boy at first, Jasper’s true nature – a rather annoying one – shows itself over time. Through the use of Jasper, we hope to see to what extent Virtual Reality can be used to create a sense of social anger.

This project was created by the Media Technology students Nesse van der Meer and Pieter Rohrbach in cooperation with Marieke Bos and Carolien Rieffe from the research group Focus on Emotions. Robin de Lange (VR Learning Lab) was the supervisor of the project.

Virtual Reality Learning Lab – new online & offline location


We’re very proud to announce that the website of the Virtual Reality Learning Lab is online. We are still working on some technical details and of course we still have a lot of content to add. Nonetheless we are excited about this step; thank you Donna Schipper.

We’re even more excited about our new offline location at HUBspot Leiden, the centre for entrepreneurship and innovation that just opened its doors at Langegracht 70 in Leiden. Here, the VR Learning Lab will have its own office and plenty of room and hardware for students to work on their Virtual Reality projects.

Virtual Reality in de bibliotheek

Door het hele land worden er allerlei activiteiten rond Virtual Reality in de bibliotheek georganiseerd. Lezingen, Oculus Rift demonstraties, zelf Google Cardboard VR brillen maken, enzovoort. Erg goed om te zien, aangezien de bibliotheek me een uitstekende plek lijkt om mensen wegwijs te maken in dit nieuwe medium. Daarbij kan Virtual en Augmented Reality ook erg relevant worden voor bibliotheken. Zo zou VR bijvoorbeeld kunnen worden gebruikt als alternatieve manier om digitale verzamelingen te verkennen. Of misschien moet de bibliotheek naast boeken ook wel Virtual Reality content te leen gaan aanbieden.

In deze post beschrijf ik een aantal projecten die ik heb gedaan of de komende maanden ga doen bij bibliotheken.

De Gele Ballon in Virtual Reality

Voor de bibliotheek Gelderland-Zuid heb ik samen met Donna Schipper een Virtual Reality ‘zoekboek’ gemaakt geïnspireerd door het bekende prentenboek De Gele Ballon van Charlotte Dematons. Het zoeken van verschillende objecten in een virtuele ruimte werkt erg goed in VR was onze ervaring. Erg leuk, klein project om te doen! Momenteel is de Gear VR app alleen beschikbaar via de bibliotheek Gelderland-Zuid.


Al wat langer geleden, in 2013, maakten Berber de Vries en ik de Augmented Reality app ARBieb. Hierbij gebruik je je telefoon om kinderboeken te scannen en leesverslagen te bekijken. De app stimuleert kinderen om boeken te lezen en korte verslagen te schrijven. Tegelijkertijd maakt het kinderen bekend met de mogelijkheden van Augmented Reality. De app is gemaakt voor een wedstrijd en wordt momenteel niet ondersteund.

Presentaties en workshops Virtual Reality in de bibliotheek

In het kader van de week van de mediawijsheid in november geef ik een aantal Virtual Reality workshops in verschillende bibliotheken in Den Haag. Hier vertel ik over de state-of-the-art van Virtual Reality technieken, mijn PhD-onderzoek, leuke toepassingen en kunnen bezoekers zelf allerlei VR demo’s ervaren!

In het najaar van 2016 organiseer ik ook een serie workshops voor werknemers van de KB. Samen gaan we op zoek naar de mogelijkheden die Virtual en Augmented Reality bieden voor de bibliotheek.

Towards a theoretical framework for Virtual Reality in Education

For my current research I broadly explore the potential of Virtual Reality for education. As a part of this I try to form some sort of theoretical framework to describe the unique characteristics of VR as a medium and how it can be used to explain complex concepts and teach different skills.

With some googling you can find quite a few articles (both academic, popular and in-between) that describe the various ways VR could be used in education. There are even a few listicles out there, to use the parlance of our times. Now, who can resist the simplicity of a 5 point overview of this new medium and its role in learning?

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The dangers of techno-pessimism in education

I do research on the potential of Virtual Reality for education. Now, people generally find VR very exciting and because of this I get a lot of enthusiastic reactions. People can imagine all sorts of useful applications for education. Students could learn about our solar system while experiencing a space flight, or walk through ancient Rome and learn about its history.

Of course, I also receive a lot of reactions that are more critical of VR as a learning tool. We are at a point in time where there’s hardly any decisive research about learning performances in Virtual Reality. We don’t even know yet whether people will buy VR headsets. Shouldn’t we wait for these kinds of things before we invest in hardware and educational VR content? VR has been a hype before, can the technology deliver the promises that are being made?

Generally I can understand and appreciate these critical viewpoints. I often even agree with them. However, I also think that there’s danger in this cautious, sceptical stance that is often seen in education. The danger is that it’s quite different from the agressive venture capitalist approach often seen in the internet & entertainment industries. Virtual Reality has the potential to be huge, which creates the possibility to invest in a company that will be leading in this new market. This promise has been the reason for VC’s to invest billions and billions of dollars in companies that create VR hardware and software.

So, when VR would actually become a mainstream technology, the entertainment industry will have a multi billion dollar head start. This head start will have had serious influence on the way we view and use Virtual Reality. There will be solid software distribution platforms created by the VR hardware companies. VR will be primarily perceived as a medium for gaming and other entertainment purposes, and only very slightly as a tool for learning. Matthew McCoy points out how the choices we make today, will strongly affect our future use of the medium in this interesting article.

In a way then, techno-pessimism in education is self-fulfilling. We can follow a cautious, sceptical approach and wait for strong research results that conclude that certain Virtual Reality applications lead to better learning results. But by doing so, we give the entertainment industry a head start, making it very hard for education to catch up. I guess something similar happened with our smartphones. We don’t primarily use these devices for their powerful learning capabilities, but instead for posting selfies on Instagram.

I want to stress that a critical stance about the use of VR in education is very valuable. Virtual Reality is not a tool that will solve all the ‘problems’ in education. I do not think VR will transform or disrupt education, despite what the headlines of tech blogs state. VR is not the best medium for all learning material. Some is better explained through text, video, by doing an assignment, or by explanation by the teacher. I do think however, that we should experiment with VR in the classroom much more!

What do you think? Is this danger real? What should we do about it?

If you’re interested in my research, you can follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Hack de Pont – VR Hackathon

On the 30th of April 2016 I gave a Unity3D Virtual Reality workshop for the VR Hackathon ‘Hack de Pont‘, organised by Creative Coding Amsterdam, Lava Lab and Submarine Channel. Among the participants were Syrian refugees from the very noble Hack your Future program. Although a large part of the group had never worked with Unity3D before, quite a few interesting projects were created that day!

After the workshop I joined artist Sander Veenhof to create a project of our own. We mixed Ricoh Theta 360 photos Sander took on the ferry ride with a 3D modeled world in Unity3D to create an experience where you travel from the analog to the digital world. In the future it might be available in the Play Store, this tweets shows a preview:


Virtual Reality for Science & Education 2016 – a Review

On the 10th of March 2016 we organized the Virtual Reality for Science & Education symposium at the Scheltema Complex in Leiden. I think we can safely state the event was a great success!

Over 125 people attended the event, causing a small shortage of chairs at the busiest time of the symposium. I have seen many familiar faces, but also met a lot of interesting new people. The list of attendees included researchers, professors, high school teachers, entrepreneurs, Virtual Reality developers, policy makers and artists. I think this mix of people led to very interesting discussions, thank you all very much for your input!

The speakers of the symposium showed us inspiring examples of successful application of Virtual Reality in science and education. I think these examples illustrate the countless opportunities that are in need of experimentation. Below you can find the list of speakers, the full program can be found here.

During the break and the drinks at the end of the day people could experience different VR experiences themselves. There were demonstrations by:


The video of the symposium was made by Floran Swanborn and is embedded at the top of this post. Below you can view the photos made by Roland Clarke.

Virtual Reality for Science & Education symposium - 10 March 2016

These are the slides for my presentation at the symposium.

Are you interested in the slides of the other speakers? Or do you have an idea for a new project? Please feel free to contact me. You can also subscribe to the Virtual Reality & Education newsletter if you want to be informed about future events!

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This symposium was made possible by the LUF, the Gratama stichting and the Media Technology program.

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Oculus Rift huren

Wilt u de gasten van uw evenement een leuke ervaring bieden? Ik verzorg Virtual Reality demonstraties met de Oculus Rift, Gear VR en andere VR headsets. Een interessante toevoeging voor de bezoekers van uw congres, beurs, bedrijfsuitje of symposium. U kunt ook los een Gear VR of Oculus Rift huren.

In overleg met de klant zoek ik leuke en relevante applicaties uit voor de demonstraties. Ga in een achtbaan, duik tussen de dolfijnen of vlieg door de ruimte!


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Virtual Reality spreker

Regelmatig treed ik op als Virtual Reality spreker. Ik deel kennis en ervaringen van mijn PhD-onderzoek en verschillende projecten van het VR Learning Lab. Eerder gaf ik lezingen bij bedrijven, bibliotheken, gemeentes, het MBO en het HBO. Aan de Universiteit Leiden doceerde ik o.a. een eigen keuzevak en Honours Class.

Robin de Lange lezing

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Leren programmeren bij Lyceo CodeLab

Vanaf januari 2016 gaan de Lyceo CodeWeken verder onder de naam Lyceo CodeLab. Onder deze naam organiseren we verschillende cursussen coderen verspreid over het land. Je leert bijvoorbeeld een game maken, een robot programmeren, of zelf een website maken.

In deze video kun je zien wat zo’n programmeercursus inhoudt!

Virtual Reality for Science & Education Symposium – 10 March 2016

Updates about the program below!

During the last few years developments in Virtual Reality have gained a lot of momentum. Almost two decades after the inevitable downfall in the hype cycle, the Oculus Rift showed that a VR headset is within reach for the average consumer. This kickstarted many new initiatives, causing an entire VR ecosystem to emerge, with small start-ups and massive corporations creating new headsets, innovative input devices, spherical cameras and loads of immersive content.

These developments open many possibilities for research and education. Realistic simulations allow police officers to safely train dangerous situations. 3D visualizations can help the design process by allowing the user to walk around in buildings that have not been built yet. But we can also think of immersive data visualizations which can be navigated spatially. Psychology researchers can use VR to measure responses to realistic environments and scenarios. Lectures about ancient Rome could be given while walking past the Colosseum and virtual classrooms could make following a MOOC into a more intense and social experience.

To explore the possibilities of this new medium, we organize the symposium ‘Virtual Reality for Science & Education‘ on the 10th of March 2016. The symposium will start at 13:30 at the Scheltema complex in Leiden. Around 17:30 we will end the day with some drinks and Virtual Reality demonstrations.

On this day, the students from the eponymous elective research course of the Media Technology MSc. program will present the VR prototypes they have created.

The plenary program will have speakers from different backgrounds: Virtual Reality developers, scientists who use VR in their research and educators who experiment with VR in the classroom.


13:30 Coffee, registration and demo’s

14:00 Welcome

14:05 Robin de Lange (Leiden University)
In his talk, Robin will discuss some results from his PhD research so far. Why do many people think Virtual Reality could be a powerful tool for education? What kind of possibilities are there? What is the best way to proceed?

14:30 Guntur Sandino (CleVR)
CleVR specializes in creating complete and customized Virtual Reality (VR) solutions for a wide range of purposes in the (Mental) Health Care sector. Guntur will talk about the interactive applications they have created to treat fear of flying and Social Phobia.

14:55 Student team: DinoZapp
Gosse Mol, Han Lie, Roos Hoefnagel & Nickolas Ioannou will present the VR game they have created where children learn the practices of taxonomy in a playful way. This project was part of the VRSE course and created in collaboration with Naturalis.

15:10 Richard den Tilborg (Ordina)
VR is powerful technology, can it be used to change our subconsciousness for humanized purposes?Ordina SMART realized several cases to influence the brain. Two of them will be explained in this presentation. (1) Can VR help patients wih anorexia? and (2) Battle your fear for public speaking


15:50 Hans Luyckx (IJsfontein)
IJsfontein designs and develops playful (digital) learning based on the belief that people are naturally curious and intrinsically motivated to develop themselves. Hans will talk about the VR projects they created for Veilig Verkeer Nederland and the new Waterlinie Museum.

16:15Lisa E. Rombout
Lisa will discuss the use of the placebo effect in virtual health care, based on her Media Technology graduation research that compared real-world placebo’s with virtual ones.

16:25 – Student team: Orbital Visualization
Bauke Smits & Desiree de Ridder will present the VR application they have created that teaches Chemistry students the complex shapes of atomic orbitals. This project was part of the VRSE course.

16:40Sander Veenhof
To explore which role Virtual Reality can play in the future of education, Sander Veenhof has been developing and testing experimental multi-user VR learning environments for classroom use. In his talk, he will share the results – but the failures too.

17:00 – Discussion, Drinks & Demos

During the day visitors can try many different Virtual Reality demonstrations and experience the potential of VR themselves. The talks and experiences can be discussed during the (free!) drinks at the end of the day.

Flyer VR for science and education_10_March_2016

The symposium is free for everyone, but tickets are limited. Registration via this form is required.

Call for project demonstrations
We are looking for interesting additions to the program of the VRSE Symposium 2016. Do you want to show the VR project you have created? We still have openings for the following format:

  • Project demonstration. You will have a stand to showcase and explain your work during the day.

This symposium was made possible by the LUF, the Gratama-stichting and the Faculty of Science.

Embodied Vision 2015

In the spring of 2015 I taught the course Embodied Vision together with Dan North. The course was part of the Media Technology MSc. program.

In the lectures given by Dan the students learned about special effects and illusionism in cinema and how this is used in the service of narrative and spectacle. In the following workshops I gave we explored to what extent the visual effects used in film are usable for creating immersive experiences in Virtual Reality. The studens identified differences and similarities between film and contemporary Virtual Reality. For their final project for the course the students created cinematic VR projects which experimented with e.g. stop-motion, green screens, interactive gaze-controlled video and the dolly zoom effect.


Below you can find some of my slides for the course.

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Virtual Reality for Science & Education

In May 2015 the Gratama Stichting and Leids Universiteitsfonds announced that my research project into the possibilities of Virtual Reality for the field of education will receive the Gratama research grant. Prof. dr. Jaap van den Herik helped me with the application procedure, the research will be part of my PhD work supervised by prof. dr. Bas Haring.

The research project includes an elective course where 30 students will explore the potential of Virtual Reality for science and education by creating experimental VR prototypes. More details about the course in the e-Studiegids.

My research project was mentioned in the Leiden University newsletter and Mare.