Barry Island Primary School (Student Age 3-11)
Barry Island Primary School, Wales, one of ClassVR’s very first users, has been enhancing education and creating learning opportunities with virtual reality from as early as 2017!
We spoke to Nia Hicks, Class Teacher and AoLE (Areas of Learning and Experience) Lead for Science and Technology at Barry Island Primary School, about how they’ve been integrating ClassVR and Avantis World into the new curriculum.
Expanding Students’ Creative Writing
When Barry Island Primary School originally implemented ClassVR, one of their aims was to enhance creative writing. Using virtual reality, the teachers could help students experience and visualise otherwise inaccessible topics – inspiring their imaginations and improving creative writing!
“Before COVID hit, one of the goals for was to expand children's creative writing, particularly with some of the topics which were inaccessible to students’ imaginations such as rocket launches or going to the moon. After experiencing these topics in ClassVR, I know that a lot of teachers said how much better prepared the children were to start their creative writing.”
Exploring the World During the Pandemic
During lockdown, much like every other school, field trips and even local explorations were cancelled. With ClassVR, the teachers could bring these immersive explorations inside the classroom by taking students on virtual fields trips, journeying not only across Wales but the whole world – all from the safety of the classroom.
“I joined Barry Island Primary School in the middle of lockdown. The school is in such a lovely area where teachers could usually take the children out on trips to places like the beach, but during lockdown that completely stopped. So, using the VR headsets, we wanted to take the children on trips and give them experiences that were as close to real-life as possible. With ClassVR, we could!”
Creating Content with the Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre
Barry Island Primary School embarks on some exciting partnerships, including a joint project with the Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre. Using 360-degree cameras, the Monitoring Centre captured beach profiles along the coast and the students investigated the coastlines through virtual reality. What’s more, they even linked the students up with coastal experts from around the world!
“We worked alongside the Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre on a really exciting project. They used 360 cameras to gain beach profiles along the Welsh coast, and then we linked up with professors in Australia and American Samoa to talk about the impact of climate change on the coasts. The children loved the experience.”
Investigating Abstract Subjects with Avantis World
The teachers at Barry Island Primary School have been delving into complex topics with Avantis World, the world’s first educational virtual reality theme park. When learning about the process of photosynthesis, the students have been able to first explore this abstract concept through Avantis World explorable scenes. These immersive experiences have made an otherwise complicated topic more engaging and much easier to understand!
“During our Science Week this year, I wanted to dive deeper into photosynthesis with our Years 6s. It’s such an abstract topic and quite a secondary level concept, but I really wanted to push them on. So, we used Avantis World and the VR headsets to help the children experience photosynthesis and understand the concept. The experiences were really effective, and I feel like it just wouldn’t have been possible without Avantis World and ClassVR.”
CoSpaces – More Edtech Integration!
Looking ahead to the future, Nia’s keen to integrate engaging technologies like CoSpaces into the curriculum. By building incredible worlds with coding and then exploring these creations in virtual reality, students can let their creativity run free while enhancing learning from across other subjects!
“We did a Mars topic looking at whether we should set up a human colony on Mars or stay and look after the earth, and the children created their own Mars habitats through Minecraft. But looking forward, they could create their Mars habitats by coding in CoSpaces, and then explore them with the VR headsets. That would be absolutely amazing!”
How Would You Sum Up ClassVR?
When asked for a final comment on ClassVR, Nia answered:
“ClassVR is such a versatile and engaging tool which can be incorporated into every element of the curriculum. I absolutely love to see the children’s enthusiastic faces when they first put the headsets on, ready to explore yet another exciting and inspiring world!”