Social studies classes go virtual
This was no ordinary rowdy class. The pupils of West Spring Primary School (WSPS) were reacting to the farm animals they saw through their virtual reality (VR) headsets. They were also transported to Geylang Serai and Pulau Ubin to learn about early settlers.
Through a collaboration among the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), Ministry of Education (MOE), Beach House Pictures and Hiverlab, schools will have the opportunity to incorporate VR into their social studies lessons within the next six months.
Mr Adrian Lim, IMDA's director of education, said: "We want children to enjoy learning, and if technology can augment that, we would definitely want to work on that a little bit more."
A total of 400 pupils between Primary 4 and 6 from five primary schools piloted the use of VR during their social studies lessons in March, and the feedback has been largely positive, with most pupils still being able to remember their lessons even after a month.
Said Mrs Jacinta Lim, principal of WSPS: "The key word here is that they are being immersed in that kind of environment."
An hour-long VR lesson would consist of four different experiences, each lasting about five minutes, at one or two locations. Between each experience, pupils will take off their headsets and engage in a discussion or activity regarding what was shown.
Pupils have complained of giddiness when putting on the VR headsets but managed to overcome it with a little rest.
Educators can feel reassured as one of the developers, Beach House Pictures, a local production company, has aligned the content with the MOE social studies syllabus.
Mr Kwek Yao Chie, 36, a teacher from WSPS who carried out the VR lesson, said: "I told my pupils (about the lessons) a week before conducting them, and they got so excited that they could not stop asking me about it for the rest of the week."