Virtual reality taken to the classroom in Bradford
A dive to the bottom of the ocean, a trip to Machu Picchu and a tour of the Galapagos Islands – these are not just a list of exotic destinations, they are places a group of Bradford schoolchildren ‘visited’ this past week.
Youngsters at St Matthews CE Primary School got the chance to travel the world from the comfort of the classroom on Wednesday 21st September thanks to Google’s latest technology – the Google Expeditions teaching package.
By looking through the futuristic eyewear, pupils were able to take part in a learning experience never before seen in Bradford.
Acting Headteacher Kay Remmer said she was delighted to see the technology being trialled in the school.
“Although school trips are enjoyable, they can also be fraught with difficulties such as risk assessments and high costs. These virtual expeditions provide a superb opportunity to transport whole classes across the world to new horizons,” she said.
“The experience is so lifelike and real, it feels like you could just reach out and touch what is before your eyes. Such strong imagery will stay with the children for a long time, helping them to be creative in their writing.
“Immersing them completely in an environment gives them greater empathy and understanding.”
As well as touring the world, children were also able to take part in lessons on the human anatomy and the skeletal system as part of the programme.
Some 240 pupils in Years 3,4,5, and 6 took part in the project throughout the day.
Computing coordinator at St Matthews Primary, David Brown, said: “This software is really impressive and the children have loved it.
“The glasses provide a 360 degree photo which all links to an app called Google Expeditions. There’s about 250 virtual tours available and we are using it to provide inspiration for the kids’ writing.
“All the topics we are covering are related to the curriculum so as well as having fun, they are learning at the same time.”
Google is currently touring the country to demonstrate the Google Expedition equipment.
The tech giants provide one of their own staff to set up the equipment and train two teachers from the school on how it works.