Visiting School Without Sorting Home – Observatory of Educational Innovation

Social confinement and limited physical contact due to COVID-19 have resulted various adverse effects, especially among high school teens who often experience multiple physical, psychological, and emotional changes even without a pandemic. Thus, at this stage of its development, contact with like-minded people with whom they share tastes, experiences, and desires is of utmost importance for their emotional health and growth.

After fifteen months of living a pandemic, he wonders if everything can be the same as before. Even if we can begin to reintegrate into the social environment, our return must be gradual and preventive. The use of masks that cover the mouth will have to continue and, unfortunately, the physical contact to which we are accustomed will have to wait.

“With virtual reality we can design activities focused on the emotional attention of students affected by the lack of school social interaction due to confinement due to the pandemic.”

The suspension of face-to-face school activities it directly affected students ’socialization and had repercussions on their learning. As we have seen, a significant challenge for the education system has been to maintain a quality education while taking care of the physical and emotional health of students and teachers. Therefore, planning the activity in the classroom must fulfill this dual purpose.

Virtual reality for the emotional care of students

Below I share an example of activity using virtual reality developed for high school students to focus on about their emotional care when they lacked social interactions in school due to pandemic confinement. Virtual reality allows students to experience moments that enhance their training, through digital elements that facilitate their interactions in hard-to-reach situations in real-world contexts (Edu Trends, 2017).

Ninety-one students in his sixth semester of the institute Prepa Tec of the campus of Morelia. As a result of the closure, they face the unfortunate possibility of ending this school stage through an online format. They continually expressed that they would like to see each other again before the end of the school year and begin their professional academic career.

We have designed a virtual space with similar features on campus through the Mozilla Hubs platform. Particular elements were established within this virtual reality, such as photographs of teachers in the hallways and sculptures of school pets, which made students feel as if they were at their school doing a gira the virtual tour. In addition, students could move around the scene, adding more value to their experience.

“With the Mozilla Hubs virtual reality app, you can add 3D elements, video elements, audio, select an avatar, and use the microphone that allows user interaction during their real-time virtual tour.”

Access to the Mozilla Hubs platform is free and easy to use. You must register by email. When users log in, they select a virtual space to work in or they can design their own. 3D elements can be imported; some already come loaded on the platform. Other features include video and audio, such as a microphone that allows users to interact in real time during their virtual tour. Once the scene is designed, a link can be shared with the guests in the session. Upon entering, they select an avatar that will represent them and carry their name so that other users can identify them.

The activity

During the virtual tour of the school, students had to do three activities:

  1. Find a classmate with whom you have the best memories in high school. First, everyone used the pre-selected avatars with their names to identify themselves. Then the student had to explain to the couple why he chose them and grabbed one selfie together. The platform allows this feature.

  2. Identify the photograph of a teacher with whom they felt connected or had affection and also take a selfie. The student pasted this photograph into a Word document and explained why they selected that teacher and their best memories of them.

  3. Finally, within the virtual space, the Generation 2018-2021 room was designed. There, the students placed or loaded his real photographs. The application allows this activity. In the end, a gallery was made with pictures of all the students who make up the generation.

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