Making Sense of Climate Change with ClassVR

As 2021’s highly anticipated COP26 event in Glasgow comes to an end, teachers worldwide are looking at different ways that they can use ClassVR to help explain something as vast and complex as climate change to their students.

In many ways, traditional media falls short of generating the necessary empathy required for students (and often adults) to understand the full scale of climate change and its devastating consequences. However, using ClassVR, we have been able to allow our teachers and their respective classes to experience the reality of the situation for themselves, first hand.

Building Empathy Around Climate Change

One of the key benefits of using virtual reality in the classroom is the ability for students to step into the shoes of other people, all over the world. This empathy engine idea means that ClassVR users are able to understand exactly what it looks like to see through another person’s eyes.

Our brains interpret media in very different ways – whether it is text, still images, videos, or virtual reality – consider the last article you read in a newspaper or magazine. Likely you considered that story from a third person perspective, you read about something that happened to someone else and your mind pictures it as such. You remember it as a story that happened to someone else, not yourself in that situation.

Now imagine you are able to use the power of virtual reality and see through the eyes of an arctic explorer walking among a huddle of gentoo penguins – you can see them interacting, turn around and observe their environment and listen to their chattering. This climate change experience is remembered as a first person one – your brain remembers the details and minutiae that would be otherwise lost in a magazine article or video.

Gentoo Penguins

Exploring the lives and habitats of some of the most vulnerable creatures on Earth, using virtual reality, gives a deep, personal connection to the risks posed by ongoing human-lead climate change.

If you’re an existing ClassVR user, search for “Climate Change” in the ClassVR Portal and start exploring today.

Experiencing Climate Change First-hand

Furthermore, we are now seeing schools begin to use the power of Avantis World to take that enhanced climate change learning experience even further. By using explorable virtual environments such as river flooding, extreme weather, polar habitats and even simulations of global warming, students are able to experience for themselves what the world outside of their own may look like. Questions like “how does it feel watching the water rise around you?” or “What effect would an increase in global temperature have on this place?” can elevate teaching beyond simple explanations and into the realm of higher-level questioning of genuine experiences.  

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