Unrestricted funds given last year helped to fund educational VR experiences for use in Warwick's outreach to local schools and pupils interested in university education. Dr Robert O’Toole, Warwick's Senior Academic Technologist, worked with academic departments to develop a series of experiences that make learning more engaging. Subjects covered included astronomy, biology, RE and geography.
In July 2018 the Classics Department orgnaised large scale outreach events with a focus on how to use Virtual Reality to inspire children and get them excited about the prospects of further education. The children used the headsets to look at ancient artefacts, and to tour ancient Athens. Warwick's Life Sciences department has also developed an app to demonstrate DNA and genetic engineering. Hundreds of students have since benefited from these experiences.
The equipment proved to be robust enough for prolonged use at outreach events, and when loaned to schools. They proved especially popular when used with a group of local children in care.
We have established VR as a valuable element in outreach activities, got a clear understanding of the uses and logistics, and are now able to plan for the next stage as more advanced technologies become available.
-Dr Robert O'Toole, Senior Academic Technologist
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the team were able to purchase 10 VR kits and have begun to evaluate more advanced sets that could make the experiences even more immersive, exciting and engaging.