Solihull College & University Center has recently incorporated the use of Virtual Reality (VR) to develop students’ creative writing skills.
English lecturer and teaching and learning coach, Rachel Arnold, who is currently studying for a Masters in Education at the University of Cambridge, wanted to use an innovative method to support her GCSE English learners. Working with computer science and emerging technologies lecturer Simon Hunt, Rachel used VR headsets to engage students, allowing them to immerse themselves in their writing tasks.
Rachel wanted to make English classes more accessible. She explains: “I wanted to break down the barriers and use a medium that they know well; a lot of students play VR games and I wanted to use their comfort zone to let them tap into other ideas. »
Initially, the students participated in a team building activity that familiarized them with VR headsets. They then worked in pairs, with the student wearing the headset verbally describing what he could see to his partner who was taking notes. Then they wrote creatively about the experience. Rachel comments, “It felt more real to them, and their writing felt more lively and realistic as a result. The difference in quality after doing this activity was considerably better – they were really engaged and wanted to do more.
Student Nathan Clayton said of the activity:
“It was such a fun way to describe, because I really felt like I was there and I had a lot more interesting things to write about. It also helped me write about how I felt. because I was there.
Rachel is constantly looking for ways to engage her students and center their needs in her innovative learning activities. Last year, she went to her students’ main professional classes where they taught her skills such as plastering and mechanics.
She shares her main lessons from the VR activity:
“I really recommend it as a productive and fun learning activity. The students were engaged and as a result their creativity was boosted by tapping into what they already know and appreciate. It brought the program and their Evaluation.
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