Tartu Vocational College explores virtual learning opportunities
The Erasmus+ collaborative project “Making Future Education Accessible” is exploring new educational technology solutions for delivering learning. The aim of the project is to provide pedagogical opportunities, examples and good practices of application of new technologies for all teachers and students in VET education and to make learning accessible to different groups of learners.
The project will focus on virtual and augmented reality applications as well as, for example, robotics learning tools. “Today, virtual reality is widely used in computer game environments, but there are also the first educational applications programmed for these devices,” said project manager Sigrid Ester Tani. “Our common goal is to test the existing possibilities, to explore their applicability in teaching and, of course, to make the results available to teachers.”
In the first phase of the project, the new educational technology solutions will be tested in partner schools. “At our college, we will be testing Microsoft’s Hololens 2 virtual reality glasses, on which, for example, Futuclass, developed in Estonia, will run. We are trying out these glasses and the software in chemistry and physics classes. Then we will test Legospike robots in robotics and two software solutions. Zappar can be used to create augmented reality scenarios on a smartphone. The second is Thinglink, which uses a 360-degree camera and enables you to put links to learning materials, assignments and worksheets in a 360-degrees environment such as a car repair workshop. The student can move around in this virtual workshop and solve tasks based on the scenario created,” said Sigrid Ester Tani.
Anu Tintera, educational technologist, and Vilve Pohla, master teacher, will work on learning and testing the new educational technology solutions, and will also involve colleagues to try and test the tools. “The first thing is always to have a brave and enthusiastic teacher who takes the initiative to overcome the barrier and start experimenting,” said Tani.
In addition to the educational technology trials, there will also be training sessions. In May, there will be a joint teacher training in Finland, at the OMNIA school. This is a very cutting-edge school, and four of our teachers will have the opportunity to go and see how they use virtual reality and Thinglink in their teaching.
The project, which will last 28 months in total, will allow us to try out new educational technology solutions, of which there are many and which will take time to get to grips with. “Our interest is to test what fits our curricula with our students and what is fit for purpose. On this basis, the school will be able to make future investment decisions in a more considered way,” said Sigrid Ester Tani.
The lead partner of the project is the Emmaus Institute from Belgium, with OMNIA from Finland, Stichting Chr onderwijsgroep Vallei en Gelderland-Midden from the Netherlands, Aula de Comércio – Estudos Técnicos e Profissionais from Portugal and Tartu Vocational College.