Introducing Goolwa's Lumination Learning Lab
Increasing engagement using AR and VR
How is virtual reality used in education? Have you noticed the discussion is quickly shifting from ‘should we incorporate virtual reality in schools?’ to ‘how can I use VR in the classroom?’
The best way to find out is to look at real world examples of virtual reality in education, like Goolwa Secondary College. Opening its doors at the beginning of 2022, Goolwa is the first public high school in the small, rural town in South Australia. With its new Lumination Learning Lab, the school is creating opportunities for regional areas to incorporate immersive technology into education.
From consuming content, to experiencing the real world
Students at Goolwa, one of the first schools in Australia to have a Lab on its premises, are thriving with access to VR and AR.
A Lumination Learning Lab is an automated, multi-purpose and immersive environment that improves learning outcomes. Labs offer effective collaborative learning experiences in the real and digital world.
“This classroom’s different to all the other classrooms,” says Emily, a Year 8 student at Goolwa. “Instead of just being told the information, you’re able to actually experience it and see what it’s like.”
Emotional connections with VR
The Lab at Goolwa has been in use for approximately four months, and students, teachers and the Deputy Principal are seeing the value. Joe Davidson, a teacher at Goolwa and a Learning Lab Champion, has noticed increased engagement in his Studio class. Currently completing a unit on empathy, the immersive VR enables his students to empathise with the content in ways he hasn’t seen before.
“They can learn from the books, from online, from the videos as much as they want; but until they actually step in it, they struggle to see and feel that it is a place”, says Davidson.
When his students step into a VR headset, the technology opens a whole new world of possibilities.
Creating equitable access to virtual reality in schools
Extended Reality (XR) technology, which incorporates Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), are becoming more and more prominent in schools according to the Educause Horizon Report.
“Learning now is not what it was before; students are always looking for a real world connection,” says Travis Roach, Deputy Principal at Goolwa Secondary College. “Being a rural school, having a Lab like this, where we can do immersive virtual reality, brings the learning experiences to our students without the cost and expenses that might come otherwise.”
Lumination Learning Labs are end-to-end projects — from initial consultation to implementation. The scale of the project matches the accessibility and affordability needs of each school, removing any equity barriers.
State schools, like Goolwa, took the first mover advantage in using this immersive technology, and are increasing access to virtual reality in schools for regional, metro and city based locations.
Improving learning outcomes
Developed in line with the design thinking framework, Lumination Learning Labs follow the framework to achieve the best learning outcomes directly linked to the curriculum — from STEM to HASS to physical education.
Gamified education or immersive learning can also improve spatial reasoning skills and shape positive attitudes towards STEM and design thinking, making it not only more cost effective, but more effective.
“By being able to present those experiences to these kids,” says Davison, “their levels of engagement have greatly increased.”
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