A walk on the wild side with virtual reality

20 September 2018

Mazenod College is an official ‘Lighthouse School’ for Google Expeditions Technology Solutions for Education, and the virtual reality platform has taken Perth students on safari.

The Expedition Kit enables teachers to take students on virtual tours to over 800 past and present locations across the globe, allowing simulated first-hand experiences and chances to see impossible-to-visit locations.

Mazenod showcased some amazing VR experiences at the 2018 Open Day and plans were made to take the technology to some of the local Primary Schools. Matthew Gibney Primary School jumped at the opportunity to allow student to participate in extension activities that aligned with the curriculum.

The Year 5 class at the Primary School was studying animal adaptation, and Principal Mark Powell decided that the topic would be the most interesting for the incursion.

Mazenod College Librarian Penny Worthington sourced the appropriate VR content and prepared a lesson for the Year 5’s, and with the support of Emma Van Niekerk, the ICT Liaison Officer, the VR incursion took place on Thursday 2 August.

The Matthew Gibney Year 5 students undertook a virtual journey to South Africa, where they walked with a herd of elephants and gained a better understanding of the plight of elephants facing extinction from poaching and the loss of habitat.

Students empathised deeply with the animals, and the teachers were highly impressed with the students’ responses to questions and their concerned comments during the viewing session. Responses from the students after the experience were very positive, with one commenting that they would love to have the VR incursion back again.

Mazenod College is aiming to use the VR technology into the future to improve outcomes for students, and is looking to find other opportunities to collaborate in the future.

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