Published: 19th October 2018
This school is using virtual reality to train students who suffer from Specific Learning Disabilities
As a pilot project, Blossoms School in Bengaluru has introduced Virtual Reality in their classrooms and research is on to introduce it full-fledgedly as well, finds Rashmi Patil
Technology and gadgets have entered classrooms now. Yes, you read that right. Apart from teachers and books, gadgets like Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have entered the classrooms of Blossoms School in Bengaluru. But their purpose is not entertainment. A small and growing group of educators have already introduced VR in their school so that students can make the best use of technology and get optimum results in exams
The brainchild of this project is Dr Shashi Kumar, who is the head of the Blossoms Research Application Interact Nurture (BRAIN) centre. He has 34 years of experience in teaching. He says, "I have introduced VR as a pilot project in our school. The main intention to introduce VR was to help children grasp and learn and the video that we play for them grabs their attention easily. This way, the content that is taught through VR has more impact as they are able to store the pictures and videos in their memory."
Learn Real: Children in Blossoms School watching videos related to academics through virtual reality
Explaining the real motto behind this pilot project, he says, "The classroom has all kinds of students and one cannot leave the slow learners behind. There are children who suffer from dyslexia and several Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) like reasoning, dysgraphia, dyscalculia related to Mathematics and impulsive students who have major issues in grasping content. This project is especially to help such children so that they can score well in their exams."
When Shashi Kumar and his team started researching on VR, they were a tad doubtful about introducing it in the classrooms as they did not want students to misuse the technology. "This was when we thought that we should develop an app through which teachers can upload the video or content that students need to watch. The app doesn’t have a name yet nor is out on the Google Play store because we are in the process of adding more features to it," he explains.
The BRAIN centre also offers free counselling sessions and periodically conducts workshops for students, teachers, parents and the general public on parenting and study skills, memory concepts, health aspects and nutrition and more
Videos will not be related to Science or History alone, they will be about Mathematics, English and other subjects, which are all played during the VR classes. "All the videos are only 10 to 15 minutes long because I don’t want it to have adverse effects on children. The child can be taught at least two different concepts in a short period of time. Since it is a pilot project, only 200 students of class IX and X are included in the VR classes," says Shashi
While the school is yet to turn this into a full-fledged initiative, the cost of purchasing the VR devices proved to be quite expensive. It cost the school `4,000 to 5,000 to buy one device and they have purchased 20 VR devices already. Shashi says, "For any school, this device is a one-time investment and when it comes to improving the methods of teaching, why should one compromise?"
Shashi is also the secretary of the Associated Management of Private Un-Aided English Medium Schools in Karnataka and he believes that after the complete implementation of this project in his school, other schools will follow the lead.