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'It really helps to bring a topic to life': Children inspired by virtual reality

PUBLISHED: 16:54 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:57 14 May 2019

Virtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft are taken on a trip to Ancient Rome. Picture: Mick Howes

Virtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft are taken on a trip to Ancient Rome. Picture: Mick Howes

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From gladiators fighting in the Colosseum, to life in the trenches during the First World War, primary school pupils have been "virtually transported" to different periods of time.

Virtual reality learning in the classroom for pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft. Lola, Charlotte, Evie and Lucian with the headsets. Picture: Mick HowesVirtual reality learning in the classroom for pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft. Lola, Charlotte, Evie and Lucian with the headsets. Picture: Mick Howes

And as they donned virtual reality headsets, there was a real "wow factor" around the classroom as Key Stage 2 children at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft were immersed in a different world.

The school in Southwell Road, Lowestoft teamed up with PrimeVR - a company featuring qualified teachers who deliver VR workshops across the country - as a series of sessions were held for Year 3 to Year 6 children.

Virtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft are taken on a trip to Ancient Rome. Picture: Mick HowesVirtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft are taken on a trip to Ancient Rome. Picture: Mick Howes

Exploring different periods of time by using the virtual reality goggles, the Year 3 pupils visited ancient Egypt, while it was off to ancient Rome for the Year 4 children. Year 5 pupils were transported back into the trenches in the First World War, while Year 6 looked at Mayans.

PrimeVR founder and south lead Stuart Gent set up the company in 2017. A qualified teacher, he has delivered workshops to more than 100 schools across the country - but this was the first time sessions have been held at a school in Lowestoft.

Stuart Gent, of Prime VR, with pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft as they are virtually transported back in time. Picture: Mick HowesStuart Gent, of Prime VR, with pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft as they are virtually transported back in time. Picture: Mick Howes

He said: "It really helps to bring a topic to life and immerse pupils in a different world.

"The children all love it and it is really inspiring them."

Virtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft take a closer look at the Mary Rose. Picture: Mick HowesVirtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft take a closer look at the Mary Rose. Picture: Mick Howes

Gasps of excitement could be heard around the classroom as the fascinated children took their first glimpses into the virtual reality world.

Ed Davey, computing lead at Red Oak, said: "By using virtual reality it is allowing the children to experience something that they would not normally see.

Virtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft  take a closer look at the Colosseum in Rome. Picture: Mick HowesVirtual reality learning in the classroom as pupils at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft take a closer look at the Colosseum in Rome. Picture: Mick Howes

"In our session about the Egyptians, you could see the pyramids, go inside a tomb and look at the Egyptian gods - it has helped out with what they have been learning in class and we will be able to put this into practice in future work.

"There was a real 'wow' factor and the reactions from the children said it all. They were all looking around saying 'wow' and the smiles on their faces showed how much they loved it."

Ed Davey, computing lead at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesEd Davey, computing lead at Red Oak Primary School in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

He added; "It was a really good opportunity to get the children involved in something different, something they would not normally experience.

"And coming back into class after the workshop they said it was exciting and epic."

Reaction

As the children wore the Prime Viewer VR headsets, some of the Year 4 classes looked at seven different scenes.

Speaking to the children at the start of the session, Mr Gent said: "Using these headsets we will virtually transport you back to Rome - so start exploring."

With the 360-degree headsets the children were able to look all around and feel like they were actually there.

Heading back 2,000 years to see what it would been like in Ancient Rome, the children looked at where 50,000 people would go see the gladiators fight in the Colosseum.

Picking out the wepons they used in the scenario, swords, shields, spears, nets and a trident were all spotted by the enthusiastic youngsters.

Charlotte said: "It was fun and I really enjoyed it."

Lola added: "It looked really realistic."

Evie said: "I liked seeing the gladiators fight - it was like you were actually there."

Lucian added: "It was amazing. My favourite bit was when we were looking at the different buildings."

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