Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (Student Age 4-18)
Dubai British School Jumeirah Park is opening up new opportunities, providing additional context and delivering impactful learning with ClassVR.
We recently spoke with Brendon Owens, Digital Learning Lead at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, about how they’ve been transforming teaching & learning with VR.
Flying Home with Virtual Reality
Being an international school, there are students at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park that have never had the opportunity to visit their ‘home’ country. But with ClassVR, students can fly across the world through virtual reality, experiencing ‘home’ for the first time and helping them learn about themselves.
“We're all about real-life context and promoting student agency, and this is an area that ClassVR has had a big, big impact for us. Many of our students have never lived in their home country, or even visited it. So we can give them those experiences of home, like exploring in the snow or understanding seasons, with VR!”
Providing Further Context to Learning
As many students have limited experiences of the world outside Dubai and the UAE, teachers have been using immersive experiences to provide further context to their teaching. For example, Year One students were transported thousands of miles away to London while reading Paddington Bear! This helped them visualise the book’s setting and deepened the literacy learning experience.
“The reality of ClassVR is amazing. For example, Year One used ClassVR when learning about Paddington Bear. We do cold tasks here; we do an assessment on arrival to demonstrate progress in a lesson. So we started by asking what do you know about London? The children just regurgitated the pictures they’d seen in the book. So, then we asked what do you imagine London looks like in real life? What would you see there? What would you hear? How does it compare to the UAE? Then we went on a London tour using ClassVR, visiting lots of different sites like Big Ben! They were so excited and loved talking about it, comparing what they’d seen to what they’d imagined. It brought it all to life.”
Fantasy Forests and Enchanted Woods
Similarly, students have been visiting forests for the very first time with virtual reality! By giving students these exciting, new opportunities, teachers can enhance learning while simultaneously opening access to the world – providing invaluable and even impossible experiences.
“In Year Two, our students were learning about Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood, and all about fantasy lands. But the students have never seen a wood so it made it very difficult for some to relate to the book. They don’t understand what a wood is. They don’t understand what a cottage is. So, we used ClassVR to show the students 360 images and videos of forests! Then they understood what woods were, what they look like, and even started to imagine what they could hear in one. Using these experiences, they created vocabulary word maps so they could apply these into their writing.”
Tinkering in Tinkercad!
Using Tinkercad, students have been creating experimental 3D models, before eventually 3D printing them! However, to bring their models to life before they’re 3D printed, Brendon’s been letting students examine their creations and check for mistakes in augmented reality.
“It's about bringing the tech alive. For example, we were using Tinkercad yesterday afternoon as an extra-curricular activity. It’s great, but when you put the creations in ClassVR you can spin them around and have a look at them, underneath, sideways and everything. It's a whole different experience. It brings their designs alive! There are many aspects of a 3D design that need to be considered, so seeing their models in this way allowed the children to evaluate them before we sent them to the printer.”
Time Travelling Through History
Students at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park haven’t just been travelling the world with VR, they’ve been venturing back in time too! From exploring key moments in history, like the Blitz in World War Two, to building empathy with people of the past - Brendon and the other teachers have been using ClassVR to transform history lessons.
“London during the Blitz. How can you recreate that? Normally you can’t do it in the classroom. But you can with VR! One of the big advantages of ClassVR is you can go and grab clips from elsewhere. There's some on YouTube, recreated 360-degree ones down in the underground during the Blitz. Students can go and experience it. They can hear the sirens going off and think how it would feel to be there. By really immersing them, we’re completely transforming how they see and understand topics, like World War Two.”
How Would You Sum Up ClassVR?
When asked the big question above, Brendon answered:
“ClassVR is an incredibly useful tool that supports and develops understanding in all aspects of the real world. Class discussions no longer have to be abstract and leave a child with lots of unanswered questions about a particular topic – it can unlock the missing elements that help a child understand. There is a variety of content already available within ClassVR which is all available at the click of a button, or you can also grab additional content from external sources such as video platforms.
“At DBSJP, we're barely scratching the surface on what ClassVR is really capable of and are enjoying exploring its potential as we delve deeper. With technology we follow the saying ‘If you can think it, you can do it’, so we look forward to what is next on our journey.
“ClassVR in a nutshell: absolutely nowhere is inaccessible. You can be at Everest basecamp in the morning and deep below the ocean in the afternoon!”