Lesson Plan: PlayStation VR

J Brentlinger

Devices, Lesson Plans

This lesson plan is an easy one to conduct: let your students play with the PlayStation 4 VR suite from the DWRL, and then encourage them to talk about the experience! Sounds simple, right? It is! But the scholarship the lesson produces is anything BUT simple.

Interacting with this lesson allows students to engage with many areas of scholarship. Examples include:

Theodor Adorno and a love of Gadgets
J Gunn and M Hall’s psychodynamics of describing the ineffable
Katherine Isbister’s How Games Move Us

The following lesson plan uses Isbister’s book as an example.

Learning Objectives

This lesson challenges students to experience something new (Virtual Reality) in order to describe the feelings that are generated by the experience. The goal of this process is to produce a suitable undergraduate paper regarding the rhetorics of digital technologies as they pertain to emotions and social behavior. Students will learn about the concept of being “in flow” (Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi) by studying its 8 dimensions (4,5 Isbinger). Giving a rhetorical reading of the words used to describe the experience of VR, and the dimensions to which the words “belong,” will help the student define how it is that “games move us.”

  • Experience Technology-Driven Affect
  • Discuss the Experience
  • Attach it to Academic Language
  • Assignment Length

    One to two class periods.

  • Required Materials

    The DWRL Media Station set up in Parlin 102. It is equipped with: 1) A television, 2) an Apple TV, 3) a PlayStation 4, and 4) a PlayStation VR.

  • Skills Necessary

    Operate the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR

Access and Adaptability


The PlaySation VR is an oddity among ocular-centric wearable devices. It’s a video game system, true. The lesson plan is designed for those who are sighted. However, the PlayStation VR was designed with as many people as possible in mind. Those who wear glasses will not need to take them off in order to use the VR. For more information, read this web article.

Assignment Description


This lesson is very simple to conduct. It has three easy steps to it. Step 1: Get your students to engage with the PlayStation VR. Step 2: Talk about the experience. Step 3: Attach that ‘talk’ to academic research.

Instructor Preparation

  • Read Isbister’s 1st CH
  • Reserve PSVR for Class
  • Prep for Step 3 (class discussion)

Student Preparation

  • Read Isbister’s 1st CH
  • Research PSVR

In-Class or Assignment Instructions

  • Play games in the VR, but be sure to share
  • After your turn, talk about the experience (you WILL have plenty to say)
  • Catalogue/ classify the words used (according to Isbister’s description of “flow” found on pgs 4 and 5)

Skills Workshop


The DWRL has all of the technology needed to conduct this lesson. However, you will still need to know how to work the tech! Below is a video teaching how to situate the VR glasses and earpieces; but it is also necessary to know how to turn on the system.

You will need to turn on both the PS4 AND the PS4VR. To turn on the PS4, simply grab the remote control and press the center button with the PlayStation logo. For the PSVR, it’ll be a little different. There is a black cord that connects the VR to the PS4. On that black cord is a set of buttons (see image above). Press the top button (a circle with a line through part of it) and the headgear starts.

Assessment Suggestions


Assessment could be simple, such as awarding points for a participation grade. Or the 3rd step could involve students writing down what they categorize and how. The talk that is generated by using the PSVR will be fruitful, and should be recorded. It can be used to propel a 5-10 page (depending on the requirements for your class) rhetorical analysis regarding the way that games make us feel.


If grading via portfolio-style, this lesson offers the instructor multiple opportunities for assessment. Students will be working together, writing together, and playing together. Participation will abound, but so too will quality of work. The Classification of the words (and the choice of the words worthy of classification) will differ. So too will style. This exercise will get your students thinking about their final paper.

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