This year, Callaghan College has entered into collaboration with researchers from the University of Newcastle to design and document Australia’s first ‘Virtual Reality School’. The project, entitled ‘VR School’, will involve 60 Year 9 students (from low SES backgrounds) and teachers in designing, building and evaluating for the purpose of creating their own immersive virtual learning environments that align with the curriculum and are pedagogically, developmentally and ethically sound. Students will design, build and evaluate a virtual reality eco-friendly house using the world of Minecraft and the Occulus Rift HMD. So, instead of using off-the-shelf VR programs, Callaghan students will create their own immersive learning.
The project will be rigorously researched, documented and evaluated, and the whole journey will be shared globally via Callaghan’s website, allowing schools around the world to be a part of the process. It’s already attracted international attention and received a $50,000 Australian Government Digital Literacy Grant and, ultimately, VR School is set to open up new career pathways to Callaghan’s student participants.