Growing Together

Virtual Reality Learning comes to School

Students at Blessed William Howard Catholic High School were able to experience their learning in a new, futuristic way thanks to a new initiative launched by Google, especially for schools.

The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program is a Virtual Reality experience that allows teachers to guide students through tours of landmarks and other interesting locations. Blessed William Howard students got to experience the Wild West in America including early settlements and tipis and the black hills.  Other students got to see the battlefields of World War I and II, as their history studies were brought to life.  Geography students were able to visit the Tolbachik Volcano (in Russia) and Antarctica both from the safety of their own class rooms.

Using simple cardboard headsets, Android phones and a teacher-operated tablet, the application programme let students experience the environments with 360-degree views. Students were free to explore the immersive environments independently, giving each one a unique experience.  By using a tablet screen as a guided tour interface, the teachers were able point out important things in each scene, adding notes to the overall experience.

“This was a fantastic experience for our students and really helped to bring their learning to life”, commented Mr Gary Anderson, Curriculum Leader for Humanities at Blessed William Howard.  “It was so completely absorbing for them that they were all thoroughly engaged and inspired.  I look forward to doing more of this type of activity in the future.  Describing something is never quite the same as actually putting someone there to see it through their own eyes.”