When I saw this, my heart jumped with joy.
During my regular google search for VR and Oculus Rift stories I stumbled across this on the Technology.ie website, thanks for writing about it folks, it made my day.
As you may know, to me the main, if not only, reason for being part of virtual reality is the ability to “time travel”, to recreate and explore the past.
But since I (re)discovered Second Life almost 5 years ago, I’ve been recreating 1920s Berlin and having a great time doing that while also getting a chance to educate people and see them learn stuff, not to mention that they teach me a thing or two as well.
I’ve always felt that virtual worlds are such a great tool for education, especially by using real immersion.
That is why I was so excited to hear about the really cool students from St Kieran’s National School in Broughal, Ireland, who recreated a historic site after a field-trip to Clonmacnoise, a group of preserved Medieval ruins .
Often people complain that Second Life is too difficult to learn, although I think that they do have a point, it is pretty amazing to see a bunch of 10-12 year olds become such experts in it and get to grips with it pretty easily.
Mind you, everyone knows kids are better at computer stuff than us anyway.
After recreating the ruins they had visited in real life in the virtual Opensim world, they got to explore it with the Oculus Rift.
Not only that, they then get to share it with kids in other schools, where the pupils guide each other around the virtual place.
How fantastic is that?
I have to confess that seeing history being taught to kids in such a way brought tears to my eyes, I am so passionate about history and helping children realise how awesome that subject is that when I see it brought to them in a way that I think works very well and may leave a huge impression on the next generation, I just can’t stop smiling.
And I keep saying it, of course Gaming is going to be a huge market for the virtual reality headsets but I am pretty sure that within a couple of years all the other possibilities offered by them will make up a much larger percentage of what it is actually used for; movies, tv, shopping, working and of course education.
This is how I think classes of the future will be taught history, welcome to class kids, put on your VR helmet, lets to travel back in time!
Of course, the next project might be to restore the ruins to see and explore them as they looked hundreds of years ago!
I can’t wait and really can’t put into words how happy this video made me.The project was set up by MissionV, who provide “a highly creative, totally immersive, game based learning environment for schools and industry”.
They seem to be doing a very good job at it because, as the teacher in the video said, the kids queued outside the class room, installed ‘Imprudence‘ at home and their parents got involved as well.
But above all, they learned a LOT, not just history.
Of course this video also was hugely frustrating to me.
Why can’t we use Second Life for this?
Why can’t I make 1920s Berlin safe enough for a class of children to come visit it?
Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, very recently spoke about Education in Second Life and I think that he has to move heaven and virtual earth to enable schools and projects like these to come (back) to Second Life.
MissionV will be available to ALL schools in Ireland from September onwards and they should have been using Second Life, but I doubt they will.
There is something worth fighting for Linden Lab, forget about profits, think about using VR for what it should be used for, be a leader in VR being used for education and give educators the tools they need; more freedom, more security, more options and much, much lower tier.
Imagine what it will do to SL when a whole generation of kids grows up learning with SL, not to mention what it will do for SL’s reputation.
Roleplaying is fun and I truly love the community in 1920s Berlin, but being able to see children run around my recreation of Berlin in the 1920s and learn from it would be a dream come true.
Thank you pupils and teachers of the school and the people behind MissionV, you have no idea how happy you’ve made me.
Enjoy the videos and spread the word!
And the end result of what they’ve been building;