Ian Stuart from Avantis Education talks about the power of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality in teaching and learning.
Avantis has supported teachers with classroom technology for almost two decades and now boasts a diverse range of education products, including LearnPad, ClassCharge, ClassConnect and ClassVR.
In this podcast episode, Cloud Design Box’s Darren Hemming talks about ClassVR, Avantis World and creating immersive, 360° experiences for students.
Embedding Virtual Reality learning experiences inside Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.
Avantis World is a virtual reality theme park designed for education. Students and teachers enter the world using VR headsets or any modern browser.
“It’s designed to allow teachers to take their classes to places that would usually be impossible to go to or imagine. Some places in the theme park are galleries you can walk around, and others are fully immersive experiences,” Ian explains.
“For example, we have a digestive system experience where you can turn into a piece of pizza and travel right through the human body. Other examples include renewable energy and photosynthesis.”
Avantis adds four to five new experiences every two weeks, and there are currently over 280 in the theme park for educators to choose from.
“Using Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, we can ensure the content is getting in front of the right students at the right time,” Ian continues.
As you can see in the video, students and staff can easily access Avantis World from within Teams when it’s added as a channel tab or even from within SharePoint as a learning resource.
Avantis World can be enjoyed by individual students or as a shared, collaborative experience:
“The shared VR experience is powerful and uses gaming technology to allow students and teachers to walk around and talk to each other using their microphones.”
Mimicking real life, the closer you get to each other in the VR, the louder voices become, allowing students to walk around and talk to each other about their learning or approach the area where the teacher is standing to listen and ask questions.
Ian highlights in the podcast that the VR headsets can only be used in a classroom environment as they must use the same network for security purposes, ensuring only the teacher and student access the VR.
“This way, students can work safely on a secure network where no one else can join.”
The possibilities of VR in the classroom are endless, from getting students to imagine the impossible to enabling the class to produce creative, engaging pieces of work for their assignments and revision.
Darren points out:
“Students can take a photo of themselves in the virtual space and add it to their Class Notebook or homework assignments. And teachers could even record themselves in the space, talking about the topic. They could then upload it to their learning resources in SharePoint.”
Teachers can build a VR playlist in ClassVR.
Avantis ClassVR is designed to bring affordable, innovative VR lessons and experiences to schools.
Classes get a set of VR headsets and access to the ClassVR Portal, which is jam-packed with over 12L resources directly aligned to the curriculum.
“Teachers can build up their own playlists, choosing from our library of resources, or even upload their own content,” Ian shows us as he demonstrates how to search the library and add to a playlist, using “Berlin” as a topic example.
He adds a 360° image of Berlin that the students can walk around alongside some 3D models they can virtually pick up and interact with.
“As the students walk around, teachers see their VR headsets moving on the screen, so you can always check up on students if they look a bit lost or disengaged,” he continues.
How schools are using VR to enhance teaching and learning.
Your imagination really is the limit with Avantis’ VR tools. During the podcast, Ian talks about a few examples of schools that have created immersive experiences for students.
“One teacher took a 360° image of Glenfinnan Viaduct ahead of a school trip to ease the nerves of some of their students,” he reveals.
“Another great example is when an Australian school used VR to show their students snow for the first time. They used 360° images of snowy places, turned down the air conditioning, and even used crushed ice to create a fully immersive lesson. Afterwards, many students wrote about their experience and connected it with films like Frozen and The Snowman.”
It’s clear that VR allows students to expand their worlds and experience things they may never experience.
“There’s a quote by the philosopher Wittgenstein: ‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.’ So if we change that slightly to ‘The limit of my experience is the limit of my world’, it fits with VR in education nicely.”
More information about Avantis World and ClassVR can be found on the Avantis Education website.
If you want to know more about Cloud Design Box and how we can help your school or MAT harness the full power of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, book a free demo today.