They’ve soared through the solar system, explored holy places in Jerusalem and discovered environmental changes in Borneo – and they haven’t even left the college classroom.
Google’s newest virtual reality teaching tool has bought lessons to life at Barton Peveril College by allowing staff to educate students using immersive trips to get up close with historic landmarks, visit volcanoes and uncover Roman ruins.
The new initiative has seen students experience the possible future of learning with the use of low-cost educational view-finder masks to complement their studies. Google Expeditions provided the college with 3D cardboard headsets along with an expert to help teachers run lessons using the latest technology for a day.
The headsets feature smartphone slots that display pictures relayed from a special app, giving students the impression of being in exotic environments such as space or underwater.
500 students from a variety of A Level courses went on virtual field trips led by their teachers who took them through collections of 360 degree and 3D images of different subjects whilst pointing out areas of interest along the way.
During the virtual trips, teachers controlled a tablet which was connected to each headset – so that when they selected a destination, the whole class automatically jumped to that location.
Mark Robinson, Director of Humanities at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College applied for a one-off session through Google where there were 350 expeditions to choose from. He said:
“This technology enhanced our students learning with exploratory elements which complemented our traditional teaching. In addition to studying key components of our courses within the classroom in the usual way, we were able to bring our lessons to life for 15 minutes with a state-of-the-art stimulus that students can really feel part of.”
Kieron Pegg, a first year A Level Early History student was able to explore holy sites in his session to enhance his study of the crusades. He said:
“Our class found virtual reality such an interesting, interactive and engaging way of teaching us – I’ve never learnt anything in this way before. One minute we had a birds-eye view of Jerusalem and the next we were wondering through it. It was very different – and something we won’t forget!”
The college is currently exploring further educational initiatives with Google – to ensure that their students are able to access the latest technology to support their sixth form studies.