CRN Exclusive: D&H Brings Learning To Life With Cutting-Edge K-12 Virtual, Augmented Reality Tools


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D&H Distributing introduced product and service bundles to help education-fcoused solution providers stake a claim in the largely untapped virtual and augmented reality space. 

The Harrisburg, Pa.-based distributor plans to offer customizable product bundles around the Google Expeditions immersive platform that includes virtual reality headsets, routers, cases, tablets, smartphones and monitors. D&H also will focus on HP Inc's Sprout Pro by G2, fusing together detailed 3-D scanning with 3-D printing capabilities to facilitate the production of real-world prototypes.

"Get beyond the device," Peter DiMarco, D&H's vice president of VAR sales, told CRN exclusively. "This [virtual reality] screams opportunity for the solution provider to put the building materials together and help the school district with services and support."

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Adding virtual and augmented reality offerings will enable solution providers to move beyond technology and get more involved with curriculum and learning strategy, according to DiMarco. Many learning directors and teachers, for instance, would like to see 3-D printers inside each classroom rather than one per building, DiMarco said.

Less than 10 percent of the nation's student population has access to virtual or augmented reality tools today, DiMarco said, meaning that solution providers moving into the space will have tons of new opportunities.

Virtual reality gives a broad range of student ages the ability to experience new geography, geology or life sciences concepts in visceral fashion that's far more engaging that the textbooks or flashcards of decades past, DiMarco said. Students can then unlock more data or description within the virtual reality application by clicking on certain elements, which tap into the reference data to get more information.  

Major inhibitors to the adoption of virtual reality technologies include a lack of standardization around classroom devices and a lack of consistent technical support within school districts, DiMarco said. School districts would benefit from a virtual reality bill of materials and reference architecture, according to DiMarco, as well as implementing a process to access and support virtual reality technology.

Solution providers can procure an Expeditions demo kit with a single student device for $495, a kit with 10 student devices and headsets for $3,650, and a kit with 30 student devices and headsets for $9,730, according to the distributor. The 10- and 30-pack kits also include a teacher device, a router and a case, while the demo kit includes a single teacher device and comes with free configuration.

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) option including everything but the student devices is offered for the 10- and 30-pack kits for $1,492 and $3,245, respectively, according to the distributor.

Alternatively, solution providers can procure an HTC virtual reality kit from D&H for $1,553. This includes a Vive headset, an Asus virtual reality-ready PC, an Asus monitor, a Logitech keyboard/mouse, and a gift card supporting science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) education.  

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