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Putting ‘human’ into humanities at Coombe Boys’ school

Watching flora and fauna adapt to its environment and tracking the path of Syrian refugees via virtual reality gave pupils a new way to explore humanities in our latest Google Expeditions blog

As a selection of year groups from Year 7 to 11 embarked on a virtual tour of some of the world’s most interesting volcanoes, staff at Coombe Boys’ described the atmosphere at their school as ‘explosive’ on the day that the Google Expeditions team came to visit.

When pupils donned their Google Cardboard viewers (provided by Google, along with smart phones and a tablet) they could see VR footage of a variety of volcanoes, which their teacher guided them through.

Geography teacher Rob Hughes believes that the VR images ‘brought home the sheer variety of volcanoes, in shape, location and eruption type.’

Rob adds that the VR experience also inspired his year 10 group to learn more about biomes, by giving pupils an in-depth look at their flora and fauna.

‘The experience really made learning come to life,’ said Rob, while his pupils simply described the lesson as ‘amazing!’

The Google Expedition team inspired pupils in 15 sessions throughout the day to offer the boys a new way to explore humanities.

The experiences also included learning about the impact of leaving Syria as a refugee in an RE class, with the aim of bringing out the ethical dimensions of the migrant crisis.

According to Rob, the footage had more of an impact on pupils than a straightforward news report. ‘If a picture can paint a 1000 words then a virtual walk around can paint 10,000,’ he says.

Simon Whittington, head of year 9 and manager of IT systems, tells us that the pupils are already looking forward to Google’s next visit.

‘Every pupil in each session had their own Google Cardboard fully loaded with this mind-blowing experience. The boys had never seen anything quite like it before.

‘It was a fantastic and informative experience for staff and boys alike and one we hope to repeat soon.’

Image: Coombe Boys' School