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Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

With guest speaker Ryan Beckmand and held at PIXEL Labs at the National Design Centre (NDC)

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Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

In April, the Reactor Educator Network (REN) got together at PIXEL Labs at the National Design Centre (NDC) to share ideas and best practices as a community. This time we invited Ryan Beckmand, Founder and Managing Director of Virtual Reality (VR) development firm, Sciosity, to discuss the possibilities of VR in classrooms.

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

When talking about the future of schools a decade ago, we mentioned tablets and interactive whiteboards. Today, we talk about Virtual Reality (VR) as a means of teaching. 

Gone were the days where the closest you’ll get to witnessing a volcano eruption in geography class is through a YouTube video. With VR, you can stand at the foot of a volcano and watch the lava flow down to you, sans the unbearable heat. That is just one example. The possibilities are virtually endless — you can bring the entire galaxy into the classroom if you so wish.

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

Ryan started off by sharing a bit about his VR journey and how he started his business back in Western Australia. 

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

The session continued with Ryan discussing his vision to transform education and re-invent learning as we know it. He explained the concept of VR and put the technology into context for our educators by explaining the current uses of it in the industry. 

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

Of course, VR is all about experiential learning. Ryan very graciously lent us his VR headsets for our educators to experience the innovation firsthand. 

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

During the 2-hour workshop, we wanted more than to introduce our educators to VR. We wanted them to leave knowing how to create an actual VR simulation, and so we started them off with storyboarding. 

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

Everyone came armed with their own learning objectives and how they would personally like to use VR to bring education to the next level. They had no problems putting pen to paper and visualising the whole process.

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

While talking to the educators, we found that many of them have quickly and easily grasped the concept of VR and have visions of implementing it in very innovative ways. 

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

Ryan also showed the educators how to create 3D environments using blender, a free 3D creation suite, so that they can continue their work independently even after the workshop has ended. 

Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR
Reactor Educator Network (REN) Apr’17: The Future of Schools — Bringing the Galaxy into Classrooms with VR

As some of them presented their ideas to the class, we can’t help but be inspired by how eager the educators were to find ways to provide their students with the very best education. It is truly remarkable to witness such dedication they had for their cause. 

We greatly appreciate all the educators who came down for this REN session, and we hope to see you again soon! For those who couldn’t make it for this run and would like to join our next one, you can sign up at http://bit.ly/RENtypeform.

Special thanks to Ryan for dedicating his time to the REN, and to PIXEL Labs for being such wonderful hosts! 

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