Issue 1: Creativity When Creating Content
Mark Savery of Emmanuel College – a K-12 co-educational, multidenominational school of 1600 students in Queensland – takes the spotlight in Issue 1 of Virtual Footprints. Mark has enjoyed a variety of roles throughout his Career at Emmanuel College, acting as Director of Learning and Teaching (Curriculum), Dean of Year 6; now, as Head of eLearning (P-12), Mark enjoys embracing new teaching technologies that have a demonstrable pedagogical benefit, and has been a ClassVR Pioneer for over 18 months.
What brought you to ClassVR?
As a College, we had been investigating Virtual Reality solutions for some time and didn’t really know the best place to start. There are lots of VR solutions available from some of the biggest players in tech, but it was a process to determine which would best suit our educational needs. We attended a demonstration hosted by Immersive IT, ClassVR partners in Australia.
What stood out from that demo that made you move forward with our solution?
At Emmanuel, we adopt technology based on its ability to enhance the learning experience for all. Whilst the demo by John at Immersive was largely focused towards the huge bank of content that ClassVR have available, we were quickly impressed by the capacity for content creation within the solution. Class VR provided an opportunity to unlock the students’ curiosity, creativity and potential through the development of their own content using this technology.
So you and the team create a lot of content yourself then?
We’re doing a lot more with content creation now. We’re creating AR objects and 360 images and videos. We purchased a 360-degree camera early on as we discovered that it was a simple drag and drop into ClassVR without any file conversion, no resolution changes. It makes the process so simple!
You guys have been using ClassVR for over 18 months now, how has it changed school life?
We love using ClassVR to boost engagement and help students develop a deeper understanding of the content they’re learning about. Aside from complementing class lessons, we’re even using it in preparation for excursions with younger students. Staff recorded 360-degree footage of the location of an upcoming Prep excursion – in this instance, a local park. Via the VR headset, students were able to view this footage and become familiar with the environment prior to the excursion. For those students who feel anxious or unsure of unfamiliar environments, this experience helped to reduce anxiety and for other students it allowed them to consider aspects of the excursion they wished to concentrate on during the outing. Ultimately, this helped to improve the experience and learning for the students and staff involved.
We also use ClassVR for our annual school open day – we can show prospective parents our classrooms in action! It’s really engaging for the parents, and a great tool to showcase our commitment to technology and innovation in education.
How do you keep things interactive and engaging for the students?
The great thing about VR is we’re continually discovering more opportunities in which to integrate content (provided and student made) into the curriculum to enrich the learning experience. You really don’t need fancy editing software or an in-depth knowledge of coding platforms. There are many everyday tools provided as part of Windows 10 that can be used for preparing content.
It’s all about creativity! I visited an Early Years class who had been learning about seasons. Their teacher had the idea to incorporate 360-degree images and video of snow scenes, alongside students holding crushed ice in their hands for a fully-immersive learning experience! What a fantastic idea and of course, the kids loved it!
Emmanuel College, AU, located on the beautiful, sunny Gold Coast in Queensland has been established for over 30 years and caters for 1600 students. Through academic, sporting and performing arts curricula and their leadership, mission and service programs, students at Emmanuel College are extensively engaged in their personal growth and pursuit of excellence.
Virtual Footprints brings you closer to teachers using VR in their lessons. Bite-sized interviews on the use of VR/AR in schools provide a platform for teachers to share their experiences with ClassVR.
Will McNeil, International Sales Executive at Avantis, works with the ClassVR international partner network to introduce VR/AR to education across the world. If you’re thinking of how best to implement a VR solution or are interested in becoming a ClassVR Pioneer, don’t hesitate in getting in touch directly.