New Virtual Reality Technology Pushing Classroom Boundaries
Students from Albany’s Mt Lockyer Primary School first to use ClassVR
“The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein
Students of Mount Lockyer Primary School, in Western Australia’s South-West, now have the option to take a drive in a Lunar Rover, find out ‘first hand’ what surviving WWI really meant, or take a tour of the Pyramids of Giza.
These unique and previously thought to be impossible experiences are being made possible thanks to ClassVR. And these experiences are just the tip of the iceberg of those available.
Virtual reality (VR) provides experiences that no other technology can match and is constantly being proven to increase a student’s knowledge retention. ClassVR is a VR product that has been designed specifically for the K-12 education market.
Students can now explore various locations as if they are actually there, interact with dangerous animals with no risk, and view places of interest without the need of an airplane to get there.
How much would an art student benefit from a VR walk around the Guggenheim Museum; a humanities student learn from a visit to hurricane damaged Connecticut in the US; or a science student discover from seeing a lunar eclipse?
Mount Lockyer Primary School is the first in Australia to introduce ClassVR as part of their lessons.
Sasha Claughton, from Mt Lockyer Primary School said: “We recently introduced ClassVR to our year 4 and 5 class, initially not in a lesson format, more as a fun activity to show the students what VR is and how it works. The initial session was great and the students were extremely excited after their ‘swimming with the sharks’ experience.
“The second time we used ClassVR was as part of our ‘Building Vocabulary’ lesson. The students were immersed with a number of animals and were asked to use verbs to describe them. Other students in the group then used a thesaurus to brainstorm the verb and suggest other words to describe what the animals were doing. This enabled a richer vocabulary based on their experience (e.g. Lions on the prairie – prowled, pounced, crept, skulked, stalked).
“We will next use ClassVR when I introduce the Dickens novel, Oliver Twist. I plan to start the lesson with a ClassVR session introducing the students to old London. This immersive experience will help the students to get a feel for London in the 1800s and set the scene and interest for the story. I also plan to use VR as a stimulus to writing by using key images to help them experience the setting for their stories. Young children generally have limited experience of other places, and evidence suggests that authentic experiences help create strong writers. VR will give them the opportunity to travel to far-away places and have a life-like experiences to enrich their writing.”
ClassVR provides students with the ability to visit places, or enjoy experiences that may not be practical or even possible. And the best part is they don’t have to leave the safety of their classroom to do so.
Teachers can create playlists of the experiences they want to use in the class. For example, a class studying World War I would benefit from the resource that places the student in the trenches while bomber planes are flying overhead.
Teachers can also control what the students can see. For example, if a class studying the solar system is discovering Pluto and one student has found him or herself on Saturn, the teacher can assist by creating a trail for the student to follow to get where they need to be.