Using technology to bring subjects to reality, virtually
Stuart from Prime VR offers Virtual Reality workshops into schools, bringing to life subjects to create a truly immersive learning experience. We wanted to understand how these virtual reality workshops can enhance learning oppotunities by bringing pupils much closer to the subject than we could have even dreamed about just a few years ago.
Good morning, Stuart. Can we start by asking what types of subjects you cover with your virtual reality workshops?
"We cover a broad range of subjects and have a total of 23 workshops to choose from.
For History, we cover Ancient Egypt, the Mayans, WW1, the Romans, Vikings, the Stone Age and the Tudors.
For Geography, we cover Rainforests, Volcanoes/Mountains, Wonders of the World, the Americas, Around the World, Africa, China and India.
For Science, we cover Space, Underwater, the Polar Regions, the Digestive System, the Circulatory System, Animals and the Respiratory System.
All of our workshops have elements of cross-curricular and we provide follow up lesson plans for teachers to use which focus on creative writing and literacy.
Is a virtual reality workshop suitable for all age ranges?
"Unfortunately not. We are unable to run our workshops with KS1 as it's recommended that children under the age of 7 don't use VR headsets. 99% of our school visits are working with KS2 however we have visited some secondary schools and worked with KS3.
What do you think the benefits of bringing in a workshop like yours are over other types of workshop that cover similar curriculum subjects?
"Our workshops provide pupils with a completely different way of learning. It can be difficult to bring a topic to life and pupils often find it difficult to imagine what a place or what life would have been like. Using VR, we can bring the outside world into the classroom and open pupils' imaginations so that they are inspired to learn more.
We are also extremely flexible with our VR days. Rather than visiting your school to deliver just one topic, we can work with all of KS2 in a day and deliver a subject specific workshop to each year group. This allows us to keep the cost per pupil as low as possible.
Since starting in September 2017, we've been reviewed as 5/5 stars by teachers on Google, Trustpilot and Facebook. Please check out our reviews if you're unsure about what VR can offer for your subjects.
How are your VR workshops structured and what resources do you provide to teachers to go along with the workshops you deliver?
"Our VR workshops typically last between 30-50 minutes depending on the topics you choose and the number of classes you'd like us to work with. We deliver a minimum of four workshops in a day and a maximum of eight.
We bring in 16 VR headsets and we usually work with classes of up to 32 children. We recommend that pupils share one headset between two as this allows them to have a break and it also helps with fuelling discussions and questions between one another.
All of our workshops come with a follow up literacy lesson plan that teachers can download for free from our partner website lessonplanned.co.uk. We also bring in 10 A1 world map posters to use during our workshops. Schools are welcome to keep these at the end of the day.
In what way does the technology you use help teachers get their students excited about the subjects they are teaching?
"Our VR workshops provide teachers with an opportunity to take their pupils around the world without having to leave the classroom. A school trip to Egypt or the rainforest would be amazing but unfortunately it's not realistic or feasible. Our workshops are the next best way of providing pupils with a first person, 360 degree, 3D experience of the topics they are currently covering.
Once pupils have participated in our workshops, teachers have commented about how useful it is to be able to reflect back on what pupils managed to see through the headsets. The experience is also a fantastic way of introducing a topic and getting pupils excited about wanting to learn more.
What are some of the most popular workshops you deliver and why do you think they appeal to school groups?
"All of our workshops are extremely popular and we have received fantastic feedback from every single one. However, we definitely have our favourites that we like to deliver.
Outer Space has always been one of our favourites. It's difficult for pupils to comprehend how vast space is but over the course of our workshop we hopefully help to put this question into perspective. Pupils see all of the planets in our Solar System (according to their relative size), the Milky Way Galaxy and even see one of the modules on the International Space Station.
Our Around the World Quiz is also one of our favourites and is a great way of encouraging healthy competition and increasing geographical knowledge. Working in teams, pupils need to use the VR headsets and maps to identify which country they are in, the name of the city and the famous landmark. We love how competitive pupils get during this workshop!
Ancient Egypt is also one of our favourite workshops to deliver. All of the PrimeVR team are still fascinated about the Ancient Egyptians and we love going above and beyond to research this topic. It's amazing to be able to show pupils the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and even inside a reconstructed Egyptian tomb (also an amazing stimulus for creative writing!).
As mentioned above, we love delivering all of our workshops as they always receive positive feedback and it keeps the day nice and varied for the team.
Are the children sitting at their desks for your workshops, or does the school need to provide space like a school hall for them to move around?
"We prefer to be based in one space for the day. This can either be a classroom or a small hall. It's also preferable that pupils are sat at tables and chairs during the experience. If pupils stand up during the experience, they have a tendency to walk around and bump into things (tables, walls, chairs, doors, each other, teachers – we've seen it all!).
With all the technology you have invested in, are the costs prohibitive? Can you give us a guide on how much a teacher would expect to pay for a virtual reality workshop?
"We try to keep our costs as competitive as possible. In order to do this, we recommend working with all of KS2 throughout the day. Prices start from approximately £2 per pupil.
If you're interested in a VR workshop for your class, try and persuade the other year groups to come on board with you. We can usually deliver a subject specific workshop to each year group and we guarantee that everyone will love it.
If a school wants to book one of your workshops is there anything they need to consider first?
"We always recommend booking as far in advance as possible. We are often fully booked months in advance and so to avoid disappointment, secure your date early.
We are only a small team and although we cover the whole of the UK, we will need to include travel expenses for certain areas (accommodation, petrol and food allowance). Our team members are currently based in the South East, Midlands and the North West.
Have you got any advice or guidance for the less tech savvy out there who are a bit unsure about bringing a workshop like yours into their classroom?
"The main reason behind why we set up PrimeVR was to give pupils the opportunity to experience VR without schools having the pressure of investing in expensive equipment or training teachers on how to use it.
If you book with PrimeVR, our team will set up the equipment, deliver the workshops and tidy away at the end of the school day. All we need from schools is a space to use throughout the day, a timetable and some feedback on your experience.
Give PrimeVR a go and I'm sure you won't regret it!
If you are interested in hearing a bit more about how you can book a Virtual Reality workshop for your class then why not get in touch here.
Tudors VR Workshop
Using virtual reality, climb on board Henry VIII's famous warship, The Mary Rose! This workshop is a great way of bringing the Tudors to life and will be a fantastic writing stimulus for your class. Prices start from £1.99 per pupil!
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The Circulatory System VR Workshop
Learn all about how the human body works with this VR workshop about the circulatory system! Prices start from £1.99 per child!
More about The Circulatory System VR Workshop...
Wonders of the World VR Workshop
Experience the Seven New Wonders of the World through Virtual Reality headsets! A great way of meeting Geography outcomes as well as inspiring some amazing creative writing! Prices start from approximately £1.99 per child!
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India VR Workshop
Explore India and the Himalayas with this amazing virtual reality workshop! Your pupils will visit famous sites including the Taj Mahal and Mount Everest all from the comfort of your classroom! Prices start from £1.99 per pupil!
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The Respiratory System VR Workshop
Take a trip inside the human body to learn all about the respiratory system. We'll break down the process of breathing by taking a closer look at the lungs, trachea, mouth and nose. Prices start from £1.99 per pupil!
More about The Respiratory System VR Workshop...
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