Whilst the technology for virtual reality has been around since the 1950s, it is only in recent years that it has moved from the realms of the gamer to a mainstream audience and is now knocking at the classroom door. And it’s not just adventurous startups that are exploring the world of VR. Corporate giants can see the value of the technology and are investing heavily in the educational arena. More than a million students (including many at Putney High School) have taken virtual adventures with Google’s VR Pioneer Expeditions programme.
School Spider have always provided high-quality websites designed specifically for Primary schools. The free-to-download app for parents, which accompanies their sites, is now 12 months old. This resource allows schools to communicate with all their parents through a single staff login on the school website.
As any teacher knows, it can be difficult to hold the attention of pupils across the entire curriculum. There are subjects that get unruly classrooms to sit up and pay attention, but sometimes you can see their eyes glazing over as you explain number-bonds, or try to get them to focus on a piece of creative writing! Technology offers new and exciting ways to combat this, without putting undue burden on teachers. Here at Computeam we’re passionate about sharing these techniques, something we’ll be doing at our Spring conference in February 2017.
The above is me after one of our training climbs - tweets intact! In my last post, on virtual reality, I wrote about how I could fly over Chicago or climb high mountains effortlessly. All you needed was Google Cardboard. Well, what do you do if you want to document a real adventure?
Today, I visited Chicago, a beautiful city. I also climbed Zermatt in Switzerland, and later took part in a study on sharks swarming over a wreck in the ocean. My equipment was quite simple: a smartphone, two little lenses, some cardboard and an elastic. Pretty simple, but ingenious. A virtual reality experience through Google Cardboard.
When I began teaching in the early 1990s, schools were approaching the Millennium with great anticipation for a futuristic world of gadgets and technologies. The best we had at that time was a BBC B Computer, hooked up to a dot matrix printer with that awful neverending sheet of paper with the holes in the sides. In some classrooms they were seen as glorified typewriters so that kids could type up a good piece of writing. More adventurous uses included simple programming and filling the screen with scrolling text from a few lines of code.