North Wales educators unite to lead groundbreaking virtual reality project
20 September 2016
Giants of education in North Wales are immersing themselves in a ground-breaking new virtual reality project with a leader in world communications.
Wrexham Glyndwr University computer scientists are working closely with Myddelton College in Denbigh to deliver innovative virtual and augmented reality scenarios in an education setting as part of the Microsoft Showcase Schools initiative.
Also known as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality, VR is a computer technology that replicates an environment - real or imagined - and simulates a user's physical presence and surroundings to allow for interaction.
Andy Howard, Executive Headmaster at Myddelton College, says they aim to capitalise on the growth of systems such as Minecraft and Pokemon Go, which have captured the imagination of gamers all over the world.
“Our links with Wrexham Glyndwr University are immensely exciting and provide an opportunity to explore the potential of these modern technologies to make a huge difference to education,” said Mr Howard, who is the only UK headmaster to sit on the prestigious Microsoft in Education Advisory Board.
“We look forward to sharing our experiences with other schools in our community and the world to continue finding innovative ways to equip our students with the proper tools needed for success inside and outside of the classroom.”
As a Showcase School, Myddelton will work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education and communicate a vision enabled by technology through the hosting and mentoring of other schools in the community on transformational educational practices.
Vic Grout, Professor of Computing Futures at Wrexham Glyndwr, has been working with schools across north east Wales to strengthen their focus on ICT and was awarded a certificate of recognition of his work by the British Computer Society.
He says joining forces with Myddelton College on the virtual reality programme will act as a catalyst for other education leaders across the UK.
“This is an exciting opportunity to work with a new educational provider and build something truly original from the ground up,” said Professor Grout.
“Myddelton have the ambition, facilities and audience to showcase these new technologies and we clearly have significant expertise in immersive technologies and virtual reality to take full advantage of this.
“A number of projects, we already have in development, can be focused towards this new collaboration. Together we can revolutionise the educational provision offered to students in a number of areas.”
Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft, added: “Microsoft Showcase Schools are shining examples of those applying purpose-driven innovation in a variety of ways to build connection, motivate students and to create community in and out of school.
“These schools are truly transforming learning and providing more personalized education to students empowering them to achieve more.”
As well as being recognised on a global scale for their innovative approach to educating tomorrow’s workforce, Showcase Schools receive additional collaboration opportunities with other schools around the world, access to professional development opportunities, invitations to exclusive events, access to Microsoft Innovative Educators Experts (MIE Experts) on staff to help drive innovation and to support staff, peers and students, and more.
Visit Wrexham Glyndwr University open day on October 15 from 10am-2pm: www.glyndwr.ac.uk