Virtual Reality and 360 video is being embraced across industry, and international education is no different. Perhaps the most obvious of its immediate uses is campus tours as a recruitment tool. But one UK-based firm has taken this new tool to disrupt the traditional methods of teacher training.

Immersive VR, in collaboration with Connect to Learn and Ericsson, is taking its virtual reality product to train teachers in developing nations. 

Using technology that is now accessible, such as the Samsung Gear VR systems, the Connect to Learn project builds classroom scenarios in a virtual world, which then react to teachers actions and shows teachers, literally, where they’re going wrong.

Matthew Martin, MD of Immersive explained that this came about after installing mobile signal towers in rural communities in Myanmar, so connected devices could be used by school pupils.

“The students then had a way of accessing the outside world and learning in a modern way. But that brought up another problem which is the fact that teachers out there have always been teaching using traditional methods, literally a blackboard and a kind of cane to point,” he told The PIE News.

The solution? “A VR experience that trains teachers to teach using modern technology,” Martin said.

Like many language learning apps, Immersive uses ‘gamification’ to help teachers learn how to use the new technology in their classrooms.

In the VR classroom and lesson plan, Martin told The PIE, cartoon students will react to the teacher’s actions and focus.

“Our platform analyses where they’re [teachers] looking and analyses how animated they are, variation in tone in their voice and also the volume of their voice as well. For example they’re talking to quietly, students further back in the room begin to disappear because they’re becoming disengaged. They can’t hear the teacher,” Martin explained.

“It’s encouraging them in real time to improve and to make sure they get one in every so often a student will pop their hand up in the air and ask a question and then the teacher has to deliver that answer”.

Teachers are then given a score, and can improve with feedback. They also remain in contact with the Connect to Learn team remotely.

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