When Grade 3 teacher Nadya Faqir decided to implement virtual reality in her 3rd grade classroom, she knew she might run into some hurdles. She did not know that she would find the answer to those problems within the walls of WISS.
When COVID-19 hit, Ms. Faqir was brainstorming new ways to engage with her students and creative ways to allow them to explore the world at a time when field trips weren’t possible. “Last year, we did not have a chance to go on field trips. The same is happening this year, so since we cannot go on field trips, the field trips are coming to our classroom. What better than VR to accomplish this?” shared Faqir.
Although the idea of implementing virtual reality in the classroom was a brilliant one, the challenge began of making this virtual reality a reality. That’s when the idea of collaborating with secondary students presented itself! “The fact we could not find VR headsets for our primary students’ iPads. They were still able to participate in the VR lessons but without headsets. I got in touch with Phil, the upper school Design teacher, to ask if his students would be interested in designing the headsets for us. Luckily he liked the idea and was on board. This is how our collaborative project started. The Grade 11 students were amazing and so efficient! They presented several creative designs and will be ready to present the final prototype at the end of January,” shared Faqir.
The power of teacher and student collaboration is well-known. The benefits include an expanded teaching toolkit, more inclusive methods, and brainstorming creative ideas. Professional collaboration amongst teachers helps ensure ongoing growth that benefits our students. But collaboration shouldn’t end with teachers working together. Student collaboration, especially amongst multiple grade levels, allows students to learn and grow from each other. When we work together, we create a better learning experience.
Faqir has had a beautiful experience in using collaboration in their VR project. Faqir shares her thoughts, “It was a wonderful experience! I felt like the older students had a clear purpose and a real-world application for their learning. It proved collaboration does not have to be limited within one grade level or one school. It makes it so much more meaningful if we could broaden our collaboration across the school.”
Although this project is still in progress, the response has already been extremely positive for students in Ms. Nadya’s Grade 3 class! “My students have been asking for more VR lessons. Their engagement went from 3 to 10 with VR. Their understanding improved, as well. They demonstrated a sound understanding of what they were learning when using VR. It is important to note that VR can be very distracting, so teachers need to design lessons that have a clear focus and expectations as the children can get carried away and play with it if there isn’t a clear focus.”
Virtual reality is one of many technologies that can make learning more fun, engaging, and beneficial. Motivation, differentiation, and meeting needs are all made possible when technology and learning are combined. Technology can excite students while preparing them for the future’s boundless opportunities and helping them with skills needed in the 21st century.
Technology, like VR, opens doors to a whole new world of learning. WISS is proud to add virtual reality to its ever-growing technology list in the classrooms. Other impressive technology used in WISS classrooms includes 3D printing in Design, video shooting and editing in Film, and Robotics After School Activity.
“When I started learning more about VR, I found out is it not just a way to bring the world to us, but it also motivates students to learn. Another great benefit of VR is to provide another tool to differentiate. VR can help engage those students with different learning needs such as focus, language, and reading needs. VR exposes students to the content in an immersive way. They can see, hear, and almost feel the learning.”
This collision of collaboration and technology is just one of the many inspirational ideas that have unfolded on our WISS campus. Ideas like this are genuinely made possible because of our community! The power of dedicated and passionate teachers, hardworking and creative students, and access to WISS technology made virtual reality a reality!
Think virtual reality is cool? Check out WISS’s 360° VR Campus Tour!