It would be fair to say that most schools have either not tried VR at all or have done limited experiments with basic mobile devices that show 360 degree scenes. Through the ISC Digital Strategy Group, we have lent out computers and headsets to several schools inorder for them to experience higher-end VR for one person at a time. The results of their finding can be found in the ‘Growth Headset’ report recently compiled by Dr James Mannion. Some schools are even further ahead and have already purchased their own headsets and conducted trials with students into different applications currently available and some of these are discussed in the report.
In China we are seeing schools experimenting with high-end mobile devices for whole classes at a time. In many universities now, VR is becoming a standard tool for teaching complex subjects particularly in health and engineering training applications.
On the 29th November 2018 the Independent Schools Council – Digital Strategy Group had their annual conference at Radley College in Oxfordshire. This was a chance for schools to hear more about where things are going and try out new technologies such as collaborative XR.
After talking with many staff from schools that attended, I was able to identify some of the next steps that need to be taken for schools to move forward with immersive technologies.
There is no doubt XR technologies can and will completely transform certain areas of learning, the question is which? The key is not to wait for others to show you what you can do with it or create the right content for you. It’s a media device like a television, what others do with it might be different to what you could do with it.
You don’t need to wait for Microsoft and Google to tell you what to do. Roll up your sleeves and start experimenting, it does NOT need to cost much money to get started and you certainly don’t need a degree in software development to start creating your own lesson material.
What subject matter would benefit most from virtual reconstruction? What students might benefit the most from immersive engagement?
Share trial VR lesson content amongst other schools, rate what works in which situations, share your findings. Start an inter-school XR club, meet every week in VR and learn from each other. Invest in something like the Vuze XR Camera and get the students sharing their immersive stories with other schools even in other countries.
To help the ISC-DSG better understand where schools are with immersive technologies we have compiled a very short questionnaire. We would really appreciate your feedback and will not be contacting schools unless they expressly ask us to.