With summer testing now in sight, the Dreamporte team hosted a focus group with teachers from Boston Public Schools. It went great! They had many constructive points to consider and use in order to create the most effective virtual-reality education plan out there! After talking to them and weighing their suggestions, we have truly focused on what we will be targeting with our program. The suggestions were clear, and our action will be just as decisive.
Here are a few of their suggestions for what we can do to be a better.
Our lesson plans thus far have been painstakingly detailed, much to our advantage. The members of our team that are out testing our lesson plans are not experienced professionals. We are just a bunch of passionate, wide-eyed students. The detailed lesson plans are great at making sure we do not stray too far off the path to the eventual take-away point. With plans on putting the power of VR education in places where we aren’t, we are planning to change our lesson plans to be more flexible. In the hands of teachers, our lesson plans will be more flexible. Teachers can use whatever teaching strategy is most suitable to them and their students.
The most reasonably priced forms of VR, so far, rely on phones to play the videos and audios. It is the most realistic option for schools, but it leaves one glaring issue. Many schools don’t allow their kids to have their phones in class! Up until now, we have been relying on the phones of the Dreamporte team to use in classrooms, and this is not a sustainable option for even the summer. In order to combat the issue, we are starting a used phone drive across campus. We will be collecting people’s used smartphones to be used exclusively in our VR sets (like our brand new BoboVR set, check it out here). If you want to donate a phone, let us know in this google form, and we will be in touch with you shortly.
Assessment is an important step in measuring the effectiveness of any teaching tool, but is especially problematic when considering the long-term goals of what Dreamporte aims to do. As an organization, we want kids who are unlikely to travel before graduation to see the world in a different way via virtual reality. Assuming the main benefit of time abroad is heightened curiosity in the classroom, we will measure if VR actually increases excitement about learning. We will have a group using conventional video supplements and compare their enthusiasm to those who used our program.
These are a few of our main takeaways from the focus group. Do you think we need to consider anything else? Let us know in the comments!
-The Dreamporte Team