The kindergarten children of AEM AUP School at Moorkanad, near Valanchery in Kerala, jumped in excitement when a giant elephant, life-like, popped up beside their teacher last week. Thanks to the brilliant mind of a social science teacher, Shyam Vengalloor, the classroom was able to stage an elephant by introducing virtual reality!
The brilliant mind thought of introducing this concept to online classes to ensure student’s full attention during the monotonous online lectures. Many teachers and schools across the state of Kerala now wish to incorporate the same in their teaching routine, and will be seeking help from Mr. Shyam.
When the entire country was locked and the fear of Covid19 spread rapidly amongst the citizens, Mr. Shyam was instead brainstorming ideas to make online classes and virtual classrooms more exciting and interactive for his students. It is with the help of a green screen, gifs, and several other apps, he was successful in creating an augmented reality that could be a part of the virtual class by superimposing audio and sensory enhancements, and graphics. These enhancements were also successful in not only grabbing their attention at once, but also retaining them throughout the duration of the class. He further mentions that he is experimenting with several other innovative methods to boost the experience of online education, along with Glassboard doodle.
Although it took a lot of convincing to his colleagues to get on board with his idea, slowly yet steadily things fell into place and the elephant stepped foot into the kindergarten class. The elephant was soon followed by the images of a globe, the solar system, astronauts along with a space vehicle in the social science class, while the Hindi class brought a tiger, snake, cow and rain to augment the virtual reality of the class. These classes are being offered through the YouTube handle of the school, and the Parents Teachers Association group on WhatsApp, and it turns out that other schools have also subscribed to their channel.
Audio indeed combined with mesmerizing visuals leave a lasting impression in the minds of young children, and as a result of which, a child will now be able to reap all benefits of an online class. There are limitless possibilities for educational technology, excellent ideas that are being thought of and implemented to support online education of our children in the country, and to ensure it remains undisturbed during these unprecedented times; one teacher from Kerala took the initiative of bringing about a change, let’s hope the teaching community of the state and the country take this initiative forward.