Stuart is a qualified teacher and spent 6 months travelling the UK as a Google Expeditions associate. He now runs a company called PrimeVR, which aims to make Virtual Reality more accessible for schools.
The benefits of Virtual Reality (VR) in education are quite well documented. An example of one of these benefits is that students are more engaged in lesson and they can contextualise information more clearly. However, one benefit that hasn’t been mentioned (that I’m aware of) is the ability for VR to inspire students.
Many students have not experienced the world outside of their neighbourhood town or the city that they grew up in. When I taught at a secondary school in Islington, I was surprised that students couldn’t point out Manchester on a map of the UK. It became apparent that a lot of students hadn’t travelled outside of their borough, let alone outside of London.
VR applications, such as Google Expeditions, could be a good way of inspiring students to discover the world. There are currently over 600 different expeditions available, ranging from the Galapagos Islands to the Great Wall of China. Giving students the opportunity to explore these places through VR may encourage students to go and see them in the future.
One of the other benefits of using Google Expeditions is the experiences that are available for students who are leaving school or sixth form. Teachers can take students on guided career expeditions, for example as a product engineer, a pilot, a vet or even as a chef. This gives students the opportunity to experience what a day at work would be like for that particular career. Another way of providing inspiration for students is through the campus expeditions that are available. As a former sixth form tutor, I had students who were interested in applying to university in America but they were unable to see the campus other than through pictures. Using Google Expeditions, you can guide students through campuses, showing them what the library looks like, what sports facilities are available and what a typical lecture hall looks like.
I believe VR can open students’ imaginations and show them a world outside of their village, town or city. If you’re interested in using VR in your school or you would like to find out more information, please feel free to drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.primevr.co.uk.