VR is coming to the 30 primary and secondary schools of East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland as part of a new scheme. The announcement marks the first time that local government in the UK has specifically earmarked funding to provide VR hardware to schools.
The £250,000 investment will see pupils in the region gain access to VR via ClassVR headsets. The hardware, designed by educational technology company Avantis, the headsets are specially designed to provide pupils with hundreds of virtual and augmented reality activities.
VR is starting to make an impact in education, with schools all over the world beginning to utilise the technology in order to transport children to far flung corners of the globe while never leaving their classrooms. The appetite among teachers is high as well, with a recent survey by Lenovo showing that 94% of UK teachers think the technology will have a positive impact on learning.
The East Renfrewshire scheme will see 900 ClassVR headsets being made available across the region.
The ClassVR headsets are designed to tackle one of the principal challenges of making the use of VR more widespread in schools: cost.
Avantis has purposely tried to keep the costs down, as well as providing hardware, software, curriculum-linked activities and lesson plans. It is hoped that the headsets will allow teachers to start using the technology effectively straight away, even if they are not very technologically inclined.
Councillor Paul O’Kane told The Herald:
“We are committed to providing the best learning experiences possible for all our pupils.
“Combined with traditional teaching methods these virtual reality headsets will enhance our pupils’ learning experiences and push them to new heights.
“We have already seen from our successful pilot project that pupils using the headsets had a significant increase in engagement and knowledge retention, so I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of this investment across the whole area.”