Class in virtual reality

Class in virtual reality

Last week three Rockhampton primary school children went to school “virtually” thanks to a unique CQUniversity-coordinated VR classroom experience, which could revolutionise distance education.

Dr Linda Pfeiffer, Senior Lecturer, Australia Pacific LNG STEM Research Central Project Lead said the students engaged in an immersive 3D audio-visual experience – without ever leaving their homes.

 “The group were in the one virtual space in a fully immersive way – the kids were playing, talking, shaking hands and creating. We had a 3D heart, planet earth, Sputnik and Space Shuttle visit. The kids even passed around a bottle of water and had a drink all from different physical locations.”

The students quickly learned how to use VR and said they loved the experience.

Riley Bloomfield said: “It was cool. I liked how I could talk to everyone like it was real not just a chat box.  It was like my friends were actually there and I learn with them.”

Sam Burton said: “The best thing about it is that it was like I was with other people and I could talk and interact.”

Brandon Hayes said: “It was very fun and I’d love to do it again. It was cool to see people from other places, like around the world.”

Prof Moore said CQUni’s School of Engineering and Technology, in collaboration with Associate Professor Hamish MacDougall at the University of Sydney, have been working on the use of VR as the future of distance education.

“We have also been developing virtual laboratory scenarios for our Engineering students at CQUni. With the jump to full online delivery of our Engineering and IT courses the question of how to provide the required practical ‘hands-on’ laboratory experience remains and we feel that VR has the potential to solve this issue.”