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Get Your VR On: Resources for VR Learning!

By May 10, 2017 Education, Featured

“Virtual Reality made all my dreams come true. I got to be a Jedi. For 45 seconds. And it was perfect.”

Staff VR

Library staffer having fun in the downtown Library VR room.

While the above story might not describe your exact first experience with VR, I bet you can relate to the emotion. VR is exciting! And it’s SO fun. Plus, as we know, the options are pretty much boundless. But as with many exciting things, it’s what comes after that first burst of enthusiasm that moves us forward.

How do we capitalize on the joy and excitement of someone’s first (or fiftieth) VR experience? What resources are available to help get them started learning, developing, and growing their skills, both in computer science and VR? We’ve put together a short list to help you get started at no cost no matter where you live, as well as some additional resources that are available at no cost exclusively* to those of you in Boise.

  • Khan Academy: This learning platform provides tons of classes in math, computer programming, and more. It’s an excellent starting place for users of any age and allows practice without downloading anything extra or leaving the website.
  • freeCodeCamp: This open source community allows users to work through challenges and projects at their own pace to learn coding.
  • Unity: One of the big names in game development for 2D, 3D, and AR/VR, the personal version of Unity can be downloaded free. Unity provides tutorials to get users started developing right away.
  • Unreal: Another engine for designing games, VR experiences, and more, you can get the download for free and access templates, tutorials, and source code.

If you’re a resident of Boise, you have access to a whole host of VR and development resources with your library card*.

  • Lynda.com: Access thousands of courses in technology, game development, VR, design, and business. Using video tutorials with supplemental documentation and projects, Lynda.com provides a platform to start or continue your education.
  • HTC Vive: Book an appointment or drop in to experience virtual reality on the HTC Vive. All five Boise Public Library locations have virtual reality stations available for public use. Additionally, we would love to highlight your game at the library. Contact us at boisecodes@cityofboise.org for opportunities to showcase what you’re developing.
    Day 4 of the Treefort Music Fest on March 25, 2017 in Boise, Idaho. (Otto Kitsinger/www.otto.photo)

    Boise Library! at Hackfort on March 25, 2017 discussing library resources. (Otto Kitsinger/www.otto.photo)

  • Treehouse: Explore virtual reality, game development, data, and more with these tech-specific video courses. Full tracks let you gain in-depth knowledge and include topics like: C# (25 hours), Beginner VR (7 hours), and Beginner Game Development with Unity (29 hours).
  • Safari Books: Use these digital books as a reference guide or to learn something new. This is our newest resource and available books cover programming, Unity, web design, and technology.
  • Even more:
    • You CAN take it with you: Borrow robots and other technology for two weeks at a time to practice your programming skills and to engage the younger learners in your life with technology and coding.
    • Classes and events: Look for programs this summer including teen tech programs, STEAM camps for students, game development classes, Unity meetups, and collaborations with local educators like BoiseCodeWorks.

What are you waiting for? If you haven’t already gotten started with virtual reality, now’s your chance. Whether you’ve never stepped foot in the virtual world or you’re an experienced programmer, we’re here to help you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. Visit www.boisecodes.org to get started.

*Don’t have a Boise Public Library card? Stop by a branch with photo ID and your current address to pick one up. Or visit bit.ly/bplcard to learn more.

Kate Radford 1

Kate Radford - Librarian with Boise Public Library

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