Halewood Academy has recently taken delivery of our very own set of Virtual Reality goggles. This equipment will enable teachers to take their students on expeditions around the world without leaving the classroom. It has already had positive impacts on teaching and learning across the curriculum.
In September 2016 we welcomed colleagues from Google Expeditions’ Pioneers programme. During a single day over one hundred students from all corners of the curriculum got to experience a virtual reality expedition in support of their learning. The feedback from students and staff was so positive that we had to find another opportunity to use this unique equipment. Fortunately, the Open University were looking for schools to take part in national research into the effectiveness of virtual reality field trips in science and geography; hence, we welcomed two researchers and their equipment into the Academy during November.
However, we wanted more! Therefore we began a search that ended during February with the arrival of our very own set of virtual reality goggles. These run the Google Expeditions app (available for free to use at home) and allow the teacher to guide students through a variety of scenes. Every teacher in the Academy has been trained in their use and we have seen huge improvements in students’ progress when the equipment is used effectively in lessons.
So far, Google Expeditions has allowed teachers to step away from the need to talk through a power point about how the lesson’s content can be applied and focus more on supporting individual students. The Google Expeditions app allows students to guide their own investigation into their learning. We are certainly looking forward to using Google Expeditions more and more and exploring ever more inventive ways to engage and support our students.