Learning and Ball Games between Turku and Bangladesh in Virtual Reality

​Beginning in autumn 2018, pupils in Turku and Dhaka will meet and study together in virtual reality.

– We are really nervous, say Pääskyvuori school fourth graders Aaro Sonck and Linnea Nurmi, right before the first virtual lesson with the pupils in Dhaka.

 – They’re there on the other side of the world, it feels a bit funny and really cool!

The connections and devices are working, they have been tested plenty of times, but now is the time for the first lesson together. The video feed from a classroom in Dhaka appears on the screen and enthusiastic waving begins on both sides. The idea is to start designing a shared virtual environment and ways of learning, there is no ready-made model.

The first lesson is all about getting to know the technology and equipment. This is accomplished in a virtual village by playing ball games and hide and seek. Every pupil raises their hand when teacher Eetu Jokinen asks who wants to put on a VR headset and explore the virtual village with the Dhaka pupils.


– The fourth graders meet each other in virtual reality once a week for an hour at a time. The pupils are building an equal learning environment in terms of both technology and content. At the same time, the encounters support the teaching of language and culture, says principal Erkki Rötkönen.

– The new curriculum requires phenomenon-based and multidisciplinary learning modules. Here the pupils solve problems and do tasks, developing the virtual world and study methods to suit their needs. The pupils can work together, do assignments and communicate by speaking, gesturing and moving, says Rötkönen.

Researchers are using the experiment to look for ideas that can later be applied when building more versatile ways of learning.

– We are trying out an unusual way of doing research in co-operation between the University and a comprehensive school. Support from the City of Turku and Hesburger and the virtual reality environment delivered by CTRL Reality made it possible to transfer ideas from the drawing board into practice, says Senior Researcher Tuomas Mäkilä from the Department of Future Technologies at the University of Turku.

The University of Turku and Pääskyvuori school are carrying out the VR project in co-operation with the Bangladeshi Dhaka Joy & Hope school, Hesburger and CTRL Reality.


Photos and video: City of Turku

Published date 9/10/2018 3:25 PM ,  Modified date 9/10/2018 3:48 PM

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