The WCN owns a number of VR headsets [including 10 Oculus Go headsets] which we use in engagement activities on campus and in schools. The headsets can be loaned out to schools and are especially useful in recruiting new students to Classics and the ancient world. Dr Grigsby also leads a session each year as part of the Cambridge Classics PGCE, so future Classics teachers can experience the usefulness of these as a classroom tool.
The apps on the headset allow pupils to experience Athens (above) and Rome and Pompeii.
If you are from the Coventry or Warwickshire area and would like to find out more about borrowing our headsets for your pupils, please contact Dr Paul Grigsby Paul dot Grigsby at Warwick dot ac dot uk. Borrowing from further afield may be possible, but delivery costs will apply.
During the academic year 2021/22 we loaned the headsets to Classics teacher Rachel Plummer [now at Rugby HIgh School] who used the headsets to investigate the potential uses for VR in modern Classics teaching. During her PGCE, she was placed in 3 separate schools, and used the VR headsets in all 3 to explore their potential uses as both extra-curricular enhancements and as part of the GCSE and A-level national syllabi.
Report: Spalding High School Jan 2019
In January 2019 our Blitzwolf VR headsets made their way to Spalding High School, Lincs. under the direction of Classics teacher Charlotte Jones who sent us the images and report below.
Studying Classics using VR
There are many ways to enable students to study; for example books, social media, and the usual classroom techniques. However, with the kind support of Warwick University, Spalding High School recently borrowed some newer technology to work with. This has allowed our students to visit Ancient Greece without having to leave the classroom, no doubt a disappointment to some who might have preferred a trip to Greece but obviously a cheaper alternative. One of our students has summarised what she thought of the experience:
"Firstly the device was very easy to turn on and put on, it was also comfortable during the whole time.
The journey through ancient Athens started from the [Forum] then it gave us some historical information about the place. You could look around at 360° and it looked very real. As you looked around a green arrow appeared, which took you forward to the next interesting thing to see , like all other places it gave you some information about where you were. Something that was very useful was that there was a map so if you got lost you could decide where to go. I liked the going inside the Parthenon the best because you could visit all different floors and see the 11m tall statue of Athena.
Overall I liked the experience and would like to see other places like this." - Iva Karachobanova 8P
Schools Engagement with VR - calendar
25th-29th July 2022 - VR Headsets to Rugby High School
Rachel Plummer used the VR headsets with her Rugby HIgh School Y10 class (see report)
6th-20th June 2022 - Harris Chafford Hundred
VR headsets in London for engagement and recruitment at Harris Chafford Hundred school with teacher Pantelis Iakavou.
7th-11th March 2022 - VR Headsets to Rugby High School
Rachel Plummer introduced the headsets as part of her PGCE placement at Rugby High School (see report)
26th Nov - 10th Dec - VR at Longsands Academy
Cambridge PGCE trainee Rachel Plummer took the headsets with her on her placement at Longsands (see report)
1st November 2021 - VR Headsets in Cambridge
Dr Grigsby travelled to Cambridge to lead a session on using VR headsets in the classroom with the Classics PGCE students.
30th January 2020 - on campus VR Session with La Sainte Union School
On 30th January 2020 Dr Grigsby led a session with students from La Sainte Union School, Cambden, focussing on Greek Religion. Dr Grigsby answered the pupils' questions and introduced them to Ancient Athens via the VR headsets.
14th January 2020 - VR Session in Cambridge University PGCE
On 14th january 2020 Dr Grigsby led a session with the new Classics PGCE students at the University of Cambridge Institute of Education. Following a brief tour of Athens, the PGCE students came up with their own ideas of how VR could be used in the school classroom to help with Classics teaching and learning.
3rd October 2019 - Introducing Classics, Lawrence Sheriff School, Rugby
On 3rd October Dr Grigsby led an enrichment session at Lawrence Sheriff School, Rugby, on the acropolis in Athens and the Parthenon. Pupils used our WCN VR headsets to walk around Ancient Athens and step inside the Parthenon as it was in the first century AD. This was part of a classics enrichment programme run in tandem with Classics for All.
13th October 2018 - VR Headsets at Solihull Sixth Form
WCN have been busy active in engaging with local schools through the sending out our VR headsets to local schools for use in teaching and open days. On 13th October our Athens VR has been used at Solihull Sixth Form open day (Saturday 13th October 2018). PG visited the school to instruct the Classics teacher Gaynor Phillips in the use of the headsets, and created a user guide. They proved a great success.