Virtual reality tool for schools to combat loneliness among children
Technology enables breaktime-like socialisation and learning at a distance
A new virtual reality technology designed to simulate the playground experience launches today in an effort to combat isolation and improve wellbeing amongst children stuck at home. The technology, called VRroom, built by British company Avantis Systems, enables teachers to create safe and controlled virtual collaborative spaces for students to interact and communicate in an unstructured way.
Ongoing school closures impact both students’ wellbeing and ability to learn, as students go without important parts of a normal school day such as break, lunchtime and after-school clubs. Last year, an Oxford study of 19,000 students found that 29.4 percent struggled to sleep due to mental health issues, and that 64.7 percent felt less happy in lockdown than when they were able to attend school. With disruption to classrooms likely to continue for several months, it is essential that children are able to interact with their peers during the school day.
Each ‘VRroom’ is easy for students to navigate and can mimic locations such as a beach, playground and theme park. The advanced spatial audio system enables students to split off into impromptu conversation groups, just as they would on the playground. Students are represented by their choice of avatar, which creates a game-like feel and enhances student confidence. The platform offers a safe way for students to feel like they are sharing a space with their classmates, just as they normally would at school.
Nik Tuson, CEO of Avantis, says:
“Research suggests that 76 percent of parents and carers are worried that their children are lonely. As a parent myself, I know students across the UK are missing the core parts of their school day, like break and lunchtimes, which get them interacting on a social level. These unstructured interactions are key to developing their communication skills outside of the family unit.
“Schools closures have been detrimental to student wellbeing. That is why we are launching VRroom, a simple solution for schools to create safe, virtual spaces such as playgrounds – among many more elaborate scenes.”
VRroom is designed to be straightforward to use and quick to get started. Teachers can set up accounts in a matter of minutes and begin creating safe, secure virtual spaces for their students immediately. The experience is powered by a brand-new collaborative technology, which enables students and teachers to connect, talk and interact from anywhere with an internet connection.
VRroom is available for free to all schools. For more information visit: https://www.vr-room.com/
Avantis Systems, the creators of ClassVR, provide simple classroom technology used by more than a million students in over 70 countries.
The world’s first virtual reality designed just for education provides everything a school needs to seamlessly implement VR technology in any classroom, all at an affordable cost. www.avantiseducation.com