Using VR as a tool for
writing in schools

I’ve briefly mentioned in previous articles about VR helping to inspire creative writing but does it really have an impact? I believe so. We ran some VR workshops with Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School and the main focus of the day was to inspire pupils to produce an amazing piece of writing. Each year group in KS2 was given a one-hour timeslot and the topic for each session was The Seven New Wonders of the World. This included visiting The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, Petra, Christ The Reedemer, Chichen-Itza and Machu Picchu. We ‘virtually’ travelled the world in less than 60 minutes! Despite the focus of the sessions being on writing, we always feel VR is a great opportunity to develop pupils’ awareness of the world and incorporate some Geography. We split each class into group sizes of approximately six and each group was allocated a table with a world map. As we visited each wonder around the world, groups were required to find which country that particular wonder was located in and then mark it with their year group. See the example pictures of this below. (Note: if you want to go one step further on the imagination spectrum, you could use these boarding passes to set the scene for your travels). IMG_1540 (1) IMG_1793 IMG_1796 Throughout the session, pupils shared one headset between two. We feel this works well as when one pupil is looking through the headset, the other pupil can make notes on what they’ve seen. Each class were given worksheets that asked pupils to think about the city/area, the landscape, any unique facts and any adjectives to describe what they’ve seen. It’s always useful for pupils to jot down keywords during their VR experience as it always help inform their writing piece. You can download the template worksheet here: 7 New Wonders of the World Worksheet. Following the VR experience, pupils were required to write a persuasive leaflet encouraging tourists to visit one of The Seven New Wonders of the World. Some pupils can show a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to extended writing and therefore it can be difficult to keep them on task. VR helps to set the scene for extended writing and provides that ‘awe and wonder’ moment in the classroom. VR helps to immerse pupils in their surroundings and it opens their imaginations (something you may not get through a picture in a book or a video on YouTube). Here are some of the examples of work produced by pupils at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School following their VR experience day. Click on the link to download their leaflets. Pupil 1 – Wrote about Christ the Redeemer, The Great Wall of China, The Taj Mahal, The Pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu and Petra. Pupil 2 – Wrote about The Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu and The Great Wall of China. Pupil 3 – Wrote about Christ the Redeemer, Petra, The Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. Pupil 4 – Wrote about the Colosseum and Machu Picchu. You can see from these examples that pupils have written some excellent, well-structured leaflets that include a clear introduction, adjectives to describe the breathtaking scenery, rhetorical questions and bossy verbs to persuade readers to go and visit! So, is VR a good tool for writing? We think so. VR is a great way of increasing engagement and it helps to get pupils excited about a piece of writing. There are plenty of ways you can use VR to help with a writing activity. See a couple more of our lesson ideas below and click on the link to download the resources for it: 1. Write a postcard home after trekking through a jungle – Download Lesson Plan 2. Write a diary entry after visiting the rainforest – Download Lesson Plan   We hope this article has given you an insight into the use of VR for writing and we hope you consider this as a tool for your classroom. If you have any questions regarding virtual reality in schools or you are interested in finding out what options are out there, please don’t hesitate to contact me on stuart@primevr.co.uk. Alternatively, please visit our website at www.primevr.co.uk.

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