As an educator, I understand the continual push towards engaging students through the use of technology. One of the biggest challenges I’m faced with is choosing the best technology -the tool for the job, not to mention understanding all the education buzz terms floating around.

‘Immersive Learning’ is one of the latest topics of discussion in education. I needed to get my head around the benefits to students of using this type of learning and what are some of the specific tools and methods that I could use to incorporate immersive learning into my practice.

I thought what I found out might be of help for you too!

So, what is Immersive Learning?

Immersive learning provides an authentic learning experience. It literally places the learner within a virtual environment and aims to evoke emotion, engage the learner and provide the opportunity to interact with the environment both physically and virtually.

Immersive learning is commonly implemented in classrooms using methods such as Gamification and Virtual Reality where students can immerse themselves in pre-designed virtual environments. Educators use these types of technology learning technique to help students to:

  • Increase knowledge through exploring and handling objects and environments
  • Learn at their own pace
  • Develop an understanding of concepts, real-world problems and scenarios within a safe environment

Why is Immersive Learning important?

According to the SAMR model for Technology Integration, ‘Immersive Learning’ has the potential to redefine and transform learning to the highest level. Virtual Reality solutions such as ClassVR does this by providing students with teacher-led &/or student-centred experiences facilitated with guided tours and targeted teaching & learning activities. These experiences would not normally be accessible without the use of the technology. Students can explore a virtual trip to the moon, birds eye view of ancient cities and the impact of environmental climate change or even experiencing World War II in the trenches.

 

Want find out more about SAMR?

What are the advantages of Immersive Learning? 

  • Mirror real life situations – It provides environments that mimic real-life situations allowing students to build an authentic understanding and value the significance of the event, object or environment.
  • Distance is no barrier – You can go anywhere at any time – Virtual trips to other side of the world, deep ocean, another planet… the sky’s the limit!
  • Learning from mistakes – Students have the ability to design and create their own virtual environments, simulations and 3D objects, and preview their creations using Virtual Reality before they actually construct their creations.
  • Increase Engagement
    • With the ability to build-in gamification, immersive learning can be fun. ClassVR also has the direct ability to load CoSpaces, a free tool for creating Virtual Games & environments.
    • Lots of research suggests that physically wearing the headsets also promotes learners to remain focused on the task at hand.

What tools can I use to implement Immersive Learning? 

Like any new technologies being implemented in schools, it is important to program effective pedagogy around the successful implementation of ‘Immersive Learning’ to engage and improve learning outcomes for students.

NSW Department of Education & Communities recommends teachers to familiarise themselves with the eight learning modes for future focussed learning. These are:

  1. Collaboration is a place to learn with others.
  2. Discussion a place to talk about and share my ideas.
  3. Feedback & reflection a place to learn about my learning.
  4. Guided a place to learn with an expert
  5. Explicit a place to learn from an expert.
  6. Demonstration a place to present my learning.
  7. Experiential a place to make, explore and investigate.
  8. Independent a place to learn by myself.

What examples of Immersive Learning have I worked with?

  1. Fairly recently I worked with Stage 1 – Kindergarten at a local state primary school. The students had been reading the book ‘Alexanders Outing’ and were going on an excursion to visit Alexander’s scenes (just like in the book).

We were able to take a 360° camera to the excursion. When we got back, we created a Google VR tour and guided tour by using ClassVR and Expeditions to discuss each of the scenes and environments. Students wore the ClassVR headsets and were guided through an expedition tour of the footage taken at the excursion. Students were able to recall and reflect upon their excursion and make direct links to the book. This experience heightened their language expression, public speaking and storytelling. 

2. Another example of VR in the classroom includes working with a Stage 5 Information Software and Technology – local girls state high school. The girls had been given the task to design the interior of a shipping container and recreate this space into a living space using Google Sketchup. We experimented with the use of ClassVR to help immerse the girls within their virtual worlds. 

Firstly, we created augmented reality cubes and viewed their 3D objects with ClassVR, which enabled them to see and interact with their 3D space straight from the palm of their hands. We later experimented with the use of CoSpaces to construct an automated walk through of their environments which could easily be transferred onto the headsets. Viewing their worlds from the headsets not only immersed the girls in the environment, but enabled them to implement their prototypes, conceptualise their designs, provide greater spatial awareness and continue to effectively re-evaluate. This ultimately helped determine whether further modifications needed to be made. Furthermore, the activity also lend itself to peer evaluation which was not originally planned and essentially raised some interesting discussion.

 

 

MORE ABOUT CLASSVR VIRTUAL REALITY SYSTEM

FAQ: Class VR

How easy is it to create my own Class VR Lessons?

Class VR have currently over 700 pieces of content available and it is growing daily. This makes it easy to find just the right material for your lesson. You can simply search for topics and subjects or even just a word. Select from individual items or pre-prepared playlists. It as simple as just drag and drop to arrange a playlist ready to be pushed to your ClassVR headsets. 

How do I Manage the Classroom?

Simultaneously Launch Activities
Once you have set up your playlist in the ClassVR portal you can send it to your students’ headsets. It’s as simple as clicking “send playlist” or “download playlist” from the teacher’s console and the content is sent to all headsets simultaneously.

In the teacher led mode, the console sends resources to headsets and selectively starts experiences. Videos are all sequenced simultaneously, so every student will be seeing the video at the same point, allowing teachers to describe and comment as it plays.

Dynamic Points of Interest
ClassVR’s dynamic ‘Point of Interest’ (POI) guides viewers within the headsets to specific parts of the content that the Teacher wants to give attention to. The Teacher highlights the item they want the students to view and a small icon is displayed in the headsets with directional dots to point out the item the teacher wishes to be highlighted.

Group Headset Real-Time View

Each child’s headset is represented as a small icon that shows what they are looking at. This allows the teacher to check that they are looking at the correct objects within their headset. Small icons, depicting the student’s viewpoint are displayed on the portal, allowing teachers an instant glance to see if they are all focused in the right place.

These icons deliver real-time tracking of headset movement and orientation, providing valuable feedback to teachers

Use your own content

One of the most exciting things about the ClassVR system is the fact that you can easily get your own content on the headsets. Using a 360-degree camera and tools like Microsoft photos or Adobe Tools you can edit and share your own images or videos. Once you have uploaded your content to the ClassCloud library you simply drag and drop into your playlist. It’s great for reliving school celebrations, bringing excursions back to the classroom or helping students plan for school camp. 

About the AuthorEva Korkidas is a qualified teacher who holds a Masters of Education on Information Technology in Education & Training and is a SMART Certified Trainer. She is passionate about everything technology! Her goal is to share and explore the use of technology to engage and improve learning outcomes for a diverse range of abilities and experience. Download her most recent webinar, HSC Examination Success using the SMART Learning Suite .
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