Virtual Reality Comes to Shiplake

This term has seen the launch of 18 state-of-the-art VR headsets for the classroom. Shiplake’s new virtual reality technology allows pupils to be transported out of the classroom and into an extraordinary environment.

This term has seen the launch of 18 state-of-the-art VR headsets for the classroom. Shiplake’s new virtual reality technology allows pupils to be transported out of the classroom and into an extraordinary environment. From the trenches of WWI to the surface of the moon, pupils will be able to experience both the unfeasible and the impossible. 

When members of a class login, they are faced with a screen from which they can select their lesson. The teacher, who has ultimate control of what their tutees are accessing, will select a subject or lesson and the real fun begins.

For example, a history class may be studying the First World War; with the use of the VR headsets, pupils will be able to better understand the terrible conditions experienced by soldiers. What’s more, the virtual recreation of a different time or place allows the impossible to happen, ringing in a new era of teaching and learning.

History teacher Paul McCraw was our first to test them out, ‘It worked really well actually, I was expecting the boys to find it distracting and ‘just another gimmick’ but in fact they were really engaged and thoroughly enjoyed this new way of learning.’

While a stock of lessons exists from most subjects, more and more are being programmed and developed around school curriculums to be able to cover a wider range of topics.  

Deputy Head, Academic, Paul Jones said, ‘As with all technology, in the wrong hands it can be used ineffectively or irresponsibly, but in the right hands and with guidance it can really enhance a lesson. I went to visit a History lesson last week, where they visited the Eastern Front during WWI. When they came out of the VR, they were asked about their visit and their answers were far richer for it. This is technology enhancing good teaching.

The VR Headsets themselves are also very relevant as Artificial Intelligence is quickly becoming a part of our world, both at home and in the workplace. So we have a duty to prepare our young people for the working world they will soon be a part of.’