Newcastle Uni turns VR to primary, secondary education

The University of Newcastle is building on work with virtual reality at the tertiary level by exploring how it can be used for primary and secondary students.Virtual reality is increasingly being used at the university, especially in tertiary health courses to help familiarise students with situations that could be confronting or dangerous to practice in real life. Now the university has partnered with VR learning platform VRTY to build on its research into the use of high-end virtual systems for performing arts and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) classes in high schools. Associate professor Erica Southgate, from UON’s Faculty of Education, has been working on the VR school study with colleague, Dr Jill Scevak, for the past three years. Southgate said that while the study produced “tantalising insights” into the types of learning VR could enable, the cost was seen as prohibitive to scaling up adoption in schools. Integrating VR with curricular activities and objectives can also be a significant burden in terms of the time and cost for teachers’ professional development, the researchers recognised.

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