Recently, Professor Shailey Minocha and Doctor Ana-Despina Tudor from The Open University came to work with year 4 at Irchester Community Primary School as part of their research project into the potential of using virtual reality in education.
The children had been learning about rocks. They had explored how rocks are formed then created their own rock cycle using Starburst sweets; they had made careful observations of the school rock collection using a range of senses and recorded these using annotated sketches; they had tested rock samples for hardness and permeability using a scratch test and water; and they had visited the local church and grounds to investigate which rocks had been used and how each type had been affected by age and the environment.
As an extension to these lessons, Professor Minocha and Mrs Tyrrell planned a series of virtual reality experiences using Google Expeditions, where the children were able to ‘visit’ famous landmarks around the world: the Taj Mahal, the city of Petra in Jordan, Machu Picchu and the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. At each site, children were able to view the landmarks and consider the rocks used, the reasons for this and some of the practicalities.
All the children were amazed by the technology and really enjoyed the lesson. One child told Doctor Tudor and Professor Minocha, “It made me understand how much the world needs rocks. It also helped me understand how much progress we’ve made.”
If you would like to read the full case study please click on the link below: