Pupils at Steyning Church of England Primary School enjoyed a virtual reality lesson for the first time earlier today (February 2) – which saw them soar into space and come face-to-face with a T-Rex.
The primary school in Shooting Field had a visit from Google to demonstrate their new app, Google Expeditions, which gives teachers a chance to take their class on an immersive and virtual journey.
Pupils in year one to six visited places that they would never dream of on a usual school trip, with some exploring the surface of Mars, while others were whisked back in time to come face-to-face with dinosaurs.
“It is the way forward in teaching, children are interested and excited and they are going to learn, which is the most important thing,” said Tom Newling, head of IT, who ran the lesson.
The IT teacher who has been teaching at the school for ten years, said children would ‘not forget’ the experience and can learn better by seeing places in the world – in reality.
He said: “It is an amazing way to teach. Children can see things for real, for example if we are learning about the solar system, this takes them to space and it is completley free.”
Children in year three to six wore Google Cardboards which took them on a variety of virtual journeys and year’s one and two were able to enjoy the experience with tablets.
Ellie Yurtsever, an IT teaching assistant, said a virtual reality lesson is a great chance to keep all the children engaged.
She said: “It is a great opportunity to engage with children who you can’t sometimes reach in class. It can be difficult to keep children engaged for a whole lesson but with this – children were alert the whole time.
“And you can’t take children to space can you but this can!”
From the Google app on a tablet, a teacher is able to send synchronized three-dimensional 360-degree panoramas to each pupil’s cardboard viewer.
The new educational tool can be used in conjunction with existing lessons and curriculum and immerses pupils in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and provide a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom.
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