National Writing Day 2021 – Engaging with writing using ClassVR and Avanti’s World
On 23rd June 2021, schools up and down the UK will be celebrating First Story’s National Writing Day 2021 – a celebration of the power of writing and this year’s theme is Connection. The challenge that has been lain down for students this year is to ‘Fill the Box’ and create a piece of creative writing that fits either into a 280-character Tweet or a Post-it note, not as easy as it sounds!
Making Connections with VR this National Writing Day 2021
Here, we will look at just a few of the ways you can think about and build upon the idea of ‘connection’ using ClassVR to help deepen understanding, inspire language and motivate your young writers in their quest to #FilltheBox this National Writing Day 2021.
Empathy - connection with somebody you have never met
As a teacher, one of the hardest things I ever tried to help my students understand was how to empathise, how to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes.’ Because most of our students have (thankfully) never experienced war, famine or natural disasters they naturally struggle to make that connection with those that have and writing about such topics is a real challenge.
By using ClassVR to place students – safely – in situations that they otherwise couldn’t imagine we are able to help them connect with people all over the world and write from a perspective of empathy and shared experience.
Connecting with each other again
2020 was undeniably difficult for everyone, but that goes doubly for our students. They have had to change and adapt so quickly to new learning styles, online lessons, learning bubbles, facemasks and taped off classrooms. But now, it seems we are slowly returning to ‘normal’ and our young people are able to see each other and share experiences once again.
One of the best ways I have seen this done by our ClassVR users is using the shared experiences and mixed learning capabilities in Avanti’s World – using a blend of ClassVR headsets and Chromebooks, our classes have been able to jump into virtual worlds together bringing the technological marvels of remote learning into a shared, classroom environment. The best part? The platform works even if you still have students learning remotely or in other classrooms.
Imagine learning about space and taking your students to a fully explorable solar system where they can fly around together, discuss what they are seeing and create deep, first-hand experiences, no matter where they are in the world. Now that’s a connection!
Connections with your community
Here in the UK, connecting students with their local communities has always been an integral part of the primary school experience. Students will learn about the history of their town or city, local landmarks and important historical figures from their area and this local connection is an excellent way to explore this writing challenge.
Unfortunately, many schools have not been able to get out into their local communities over the last year, however we have seen several teachers find clever ways to keep that connection alive using Virtual Reality! Combining the ClassVR Portal platform with a 360 camera, our users have been able to create playlists and Thinglink resources to allow their students to take virtual walks through their local areas again all from the safety of the classroom.
So, however you and your students are going to be exploring ‘connection’ this National Writing Day 2021, make sure you are using ClassVR and Avanti’s World to enhance their understanding and help build first person experiences to enrich their writing.