Common Sense


Top Tech for Using Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can help extend what we see in the classroom or bring the outside world in. Whether students are watching videos of current events or manipulating interactive models, AR and VR can add an extra layer of depth to our lessons. As students play, watch, and create, they'll be walking in other people's shoes and may begin to develop empathy in the process. There's so much potential here for creative ways to build social and emotional skills. Check out our picks below to find immersive worlds, 3D models, and tools to create your own AR and VR experiences in the classroom.

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Top Picks


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Quiver Education - 3D Coloring App

Augmented reality app adds some interactivity and learning to coloring

Bottom line: This can make a great occasional lesson supplement, but ultimately the lack of customization and light learning hold it back.

3DBear AR

3D design and augmented reality merge in creative, interactive app

Bottom line: A great fit for classroom or makerspace settings as long as students have clear direction and compatible devices.


Plant life cycle app has detailed AR but little help

Bottom line: This inexpensive plant life cycle app is a fun way to get up close and personal with plant processes, but needs an accompanying lesson for context.


Impressive, interactive 3D models augment classroom learning

Bottom line: While some models are lower resolution and less appealing, Lifeliqe is still a no-brainer for supplying mostly clear, professional 3D models for deep investigation.


Interactive slideshow tool engages students, promotes collaboration

Bottom line: This effective tool leverages the capabilities of 1-to-1 environments and offers both teacher- and student-paced learning.


Fire up the warp drive to bring VR field trips to your classroom

Bottom line: With stunning scenes and a flexible delivery method, your students will thank you for journeying together through space and time.


Robots, Arduinos, and drones -- the block coding app to rule them all

Bottom line: Impressive tool for introducing block coding and robotics on a ton of devices.

Discovery VR

Immersive videos let students enter the magical world of VR

Bottom line: VR videos will grab the viewer's attention; just be sure to carefully select the content for your class.

Apollo 11 VR

Thrilling VR experience needs creative teaching to truly soar

Bottom line: If infused with good teaching, this cinematic experience can provide a rich, unforgettable adventure.

Civilisations AR

Nifty app gives students up-close access to historical treasures

Bottom line: This is an undeniably cool app that encourages connection and curiosity, but without teacher support, student learning will be superficial.


Gorgeous frog anatomy app provides realism without depth

Bottom line: Students can closely examine a frog's anatomy and life cycle in a gorgeous, clean, and reusable way, but teachers will need to supplement the app for a complete lesson.

Google Earth VR

Explore the world with an incredible new perspective and sense of scale

Bottom line: An amazing experience that brings the world to life, despite the heavy investment in VR required.


Break down concepts in a new way with AR models

Bottom line: These 3D STEM models will certainly engage students when added to lessons, but usefulness is limited by a lack of creation options.

Sky Guide

Awesome astronomy app takes students on a journey through the universe

Bottom line: A quality, affordable way to bring true astronomy study to the classroom, even during the day, with a plethora of viewing options.

Tour Creator

Simple Google tool puts kids at the helm of creating VR experiences

Bottom line: Allows teachers and students to create compelling tours for viewing in VR or on a web browser.

WWF Free Rivers

Gorgeous ecology AR model is simple but compelling

Bottom line: The free price tag makes this app a no-brainer for including in any lesson on water resources, though teachers will still need to provide context.

Arloon Geometry

Cool exploration features, so-so quizzes teach kids about shapes

Bottom line: A nice way for kids to interactively explore three-dimensional shapes, but built-in quizzes have limited impact.

CoSpaces Edu

VR design tool sparks creativity for those with the coding chops

Bottom line: This is a well-designed VR playground for experienced coders.


Ambitious augmented-reality tool engages users, promotes coding skills

Bottom line: This dynamic tool allows users to create and experience augmented-reality activities while learning 21st-century skills.

Arloon Anatomy

Explore the human body from the inside out

Bottom line: An interactive 3-D simulation that lets kids dive into the human body and learn about how it works along the way.


Create valuable Pokémon Go-style learning games for iOS devices

Bottom line: A teacher who is willing to learn ARIS can create robust mobile experiences that will resonate with students.

Field Trip

With a few tweaks, nifty augmented reality app can be classroom-ready

Bottom line: Field Trip isn't as searchable as Google Earth, but it's a strong local resource.

NYT VR - New York Times

Immersive 360-degree videos take users inside the headlines

Bottom line: Though there isn't much explicit learning content, there's immense value in the extraordinary opportunity to take a walk in someone else's world.


Powerful AR creation tool not built for classrooms

Bottom line: ZapWorks is best suited to tech-savvy teachers and students; others might prefer AR tools with a bigger educational focus.

HoloLAB Champions

Immerse students in a fantastic VR chemistry lab

Bottom line: Students can safely experiment, play, fail, succeed, and learn in this engrossing virtual chemistry lab.

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