Five primary schools in Singapore have been piloting the use of virtual reality (VR) during their Social Studies lessons since March.
Twenty-five teachers from Beacon Primary School, CHIJ - Our Lady of Good Counsel, Fuhua Primary School, Montfort Junior School, and West Spring Primary School underwent a training workshop to conduct VR lessons for a total 400 students.
Thereafter, the teachers used a dashboard that not only allow them to control and guide students though the VR experience, but also provide supplementary instructional photographs, videos and information in their lessons to help reinforce key learning points.
Each lesson is an hour-long and includes four to five VR experiences, with each lasting no more than 5 minutes.
The dashboard is developed by Hiverlab - a VR tech company - and Beach House Pictures.
Beach House Pictures collaborated with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) to ensure that the VR content provided supports the curriculum and learning outcomes of the Social Studies primary school syllabus.
For instance, to help Primary 4 students better understand the Remember the Early Settlers topic, teachers will guide students to explore landmarks such as the Central Sikh Temple, Chinese Garden and Geylang Serai Market via VR. As they explore, the VR content will also explain to them how the designs and architectures of those buildings reflect the contributions of early settlers.
As for the Primary 6 students, they will use VR to explore how farmers use high-tech machines and creative cultivation methods in places such as an offshore fish farm or an organic vegetable farm. This aims to help them better understand how Singapore's agriculture sector is sustaining its activities despite the high urban population and limited land.
According to IMDA, besides testing the feasibility of using VR as a tool to enhance teaching, the pilot also aims to help develop students' digital readiness.
This pilot also supports one of four frontier technology focus areas (ie. immersive media) that Singapore will be investing and building capabilities in to support Singapore's digital transformation. Tan Tock Seng Hospital is another organisation supporting this focus area by piloting the use of VR to enhance clinical training.
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