A team of trainees representing the 3CL Foundation was recently in Madrid to participate in the first in-person learning, teaching and training activity (LTTA) organised by the VRTeacher Project. The trainees were Dr Patrick Camilleri, Clarisse Schembri Frendo and Marion Bugeja together with 3CL Associate Researcher Martin Debattista, The 3CL team also participated in the transnational partner meeting (TPM) on the 23rd and the 24th of June. Both events were hosted by the University Carlos III of Madrid, one of the partners.
The primary objective of the VRTeacher project is to upgrade educators’ skills sets through a cutting edge Virtual Reality-based pedagogical approach for virtual practicum. The pandemic and the increased interest in the metaverse has highlighted the need for modernisation and digital transformation of teacher education and training, and the corresponding requirement for an upgrade of educators’ digital skills and readiness through a Virtual Reality (VR) training method and tool.
20 participants from the six partner countries in the project followed immersion sessions led by the VRTeacher team. Training consisted of an introduction to virtual reality in education followed b by testing of various VR applications developed by the project. Clarisse Schembri Frendo, an educator currently conducting doctoral research said “I was very happy to network with the different partners involved to explore further the possible use of VR in education across different institutions and countries. Our discussions focused on how these tools could be used in different cultural and pedagogical contexts. These were very applied, hands-on sessions, with the VRTeacher team using our feedback to discuss immediate improvements to the technologies.”
Marion Bugeja said “Personally, it was an enlightening experience. I work in a Vocational Institute and I am convinced that the VR / AR devices we tested would resonate with our students, particularly those with different learning abilities. It’s already possible to identify added opportunities to practice and enhance student skills sets.” This view was echoed by Dr Patrick Camilleri, from the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta and an expert on immersive and interactive technologies in education: “I believe that if properly harnessed, these applications have significant potential to become mainstream in the short term.”
The VRTeacher project is funded under Key Action 2 of the Erasmus+ program with a total budget of €219,589 (two hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty-nine euro). The six partners collaborating on the project are Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus / leading partner), University of the Aegean, University Carlos III of Madrid (Spain), Fundación Siglo22 (Spain), Future In Perspective Limited (Ireland) and the 3CL Foundation (Malta). More details about the project can be found on the Project’s Facebook page.