Allfarthing Primary School (Student Age 3-11)
Allfarthing Primary School in Wandsworth, London has been transforming learning and building cultural capital with ClassVR since 2020.
We spoke to Hannah Brien, Head of Computing and Class Teacher at Allfarthing Primary School, about why they chose ClassVR and how they’re implementing VR learning experiences across the school.
Allfarthing Primary School wanted to make implementing VR as easy as possible. So, at the very start of their journey, Hannah summarised all the VR & AR resources available in ClassVR and linked them to the school’s teaching topics. Using this summary, teachers could easily plan ahead and identify opportunities to integrate virtual reality experiences into their teaching!
“To help people cut their workload down, I went through all the resources on ClassVR to find which were most useful for each year group, and then linked them to all our different topics across the school. I sent this summary to staff with links to all the different resources in the shared network, to help save time during lesson planning.”
Building Cultural Capital Schoolwide
When choosing to invest in virtual reality, opening up accessibility and building students’ cultural capital was a key aim for Allfarthing Primary School. Due to the varied socio-economic statuses in the area, some students haven’t had opportunities to experience different countries or cultures. However, with virtual reality at their disposal, the teachers can provide equal opportunities for all of their students – letting them explore the world and beyond, all from the safety of the classroom.
“One of our main goals this year is developing cultural capital. Our school is in a unique location, with a combination of richer and poorer households. It's very split down the middle. You've got some children who've gone travelling on holidays and explored the world, and then some who've never left Wandsworth. So, we’re using ClassVR to widen experiences and provide more opportunities for our students, building cultural capital across the school.
“I remember teaching about India in Year 4, and the students who have Indian heritage or who've been on holiday to India could relate to the lesson. They could visualise aspects of the country, like tuk-tuks! On the other hand, the other children didn’t have any concept of what life would be like in India. So that's where ClassVR is perfect, to open access for all our students.”
Introducing New Topics with Engaging VR Experiences
What’s the best way to start a topic? Excitement and engagement! To grab their students’ attention and spark their imaginations at the start of new teaching topics, the teachers at Allfarthing Primary School has been setting off on incredible adventures with ClassVR. They’ve been exploring topics and themes in virtual reality, creating lots of excitement in the classroom and engaging students with the content from the word go!
“One way we’ve used ClassVR is to introduce and finish topics in an engaging way. It can create a ‘wow’ moment at the start of a topic to get students really excited about the content. One of our topics is Festivals of Light, so first we let the children explore festivals of light around the world in VR, and then we linked into the topic. This meant the students had some knowledge and understanding about festivals of light from the beginning, and they were really excited to get learning!”
Improving Vocabulary and Descriptive Writing in English Lessons
Allfarthing Primary School has also been transforming English lessons with virtual reality! By immersing classes in engaging VR content, students can step into the pages of the books and stories they’re reading. On top of this, it provides opportunities for students to improve communication, vocabulary and ultimately descriptive writing by working in pairs to investigate and describe the VR experiences they are exploring.
“We’re now using ClassVR in different contexts. For example, Year 1 used the headsets in English last year when we were writing about the story ‘The Flood’. I found 360-degree pictures of flood plains and all the students had a look through them in pairs using ClassVR. With their partners, they wrote down words to describe the different flood plains. The VR experience created a more visceral picture of the flood plains and better descriptive writing.”
How Would You Sum Up ClassVR?
When asked for some final thoughts on ClassVR, Hannah answered:
"ClassVR is a very helpful tool to bridge cultural capital and bring creativity into the classroom across all lessons. It's provided a visual and tangible link to support children to apply concepts, has been the inspiration for new topics and is a fun computing link across the school!"