WelCom July 2017: Garin College in Nelson has found a more affordable option for religious studies’ school trips or pilgrimages. Students are travelling down into the catacombs of Rome or viewing the Blue Mosque in Turkey without requesting any funds from management. Mrs Pope at Garin has introduced virtual reality (VR) pilgrimages using Google cardboard viewers or has constructed VR headsets out of pizza boxes.
Virtual reality or VR is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that a person can explore and interact with. The person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and while there, can view teacher-directed artefacts. Students view objects such as components of a historic church or ancient mosaic images of the ‘Good Shepherd’.
‘It is one thing to learn about catacombs of Rome and to create a Minecraft version but to be able to take your whole class and stand next to tomb is inspiring,’ says Mrs Pope.
‘Closer to home students are unable to view inside Fr Garin’s crypt due to earthquake damage but hopefully soon they will by utilising VR. Mrs Pope hopes to enter the crypt with a 3D camera to make a 3D and to share the experience with Garin Students through VR.
‘Being in Nelson, students are not easily able to access important buildings across Cook Strait and elsewhere in the North Island, but using VR through a shared film experience is the next best thing,’ says Mrs Pope.