Prize will help connect kids to the virtual world

A teacher at St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney has been awarded a scholarship to study ways to bring virtual reality into the classroom.

Brenden Davidson, Leader of Learning in Technological and Applied Sciences at St Mary’s, has been declared the winner of this year’s Premier’s Teachers Mutual Bank New and Emerging Technologies Scholarship, and his prize includes a trip overseas.

As part of his entry, which also explained VR and AR’s new accessibility and relevance to the curriculum, Mr Davidson submitted a proposal for a worldwide study tour, which will take him to England and the USA.

His win includes a $15,000 grant to put his plan into action, and he will leave on his study tour early next year.

The opportunity we have now is for students to engage directly with the technology.

– Brenden Davidson

“Over the past 12-24 months, significant advancements have been made with respect to VR and AR,” wrote Mr Davidson in his submission. “Once only accessible via advanced and very costly equipment, they are now available on almost any smartphone, making them viable tools in education.”

“This study aims to investigate ways in which the technology can be implemented to introduce innovative and better teaching practice as well as enhanced learning for students,” he later said.

Mr Davidson’s study tour includes visits to several conferences, including Develop 3D Live in Coventry, Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference in Washington DC and International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Conference in Atlanta.

There will also be visits to sites like the Smithsonian and the British Museum, as well as a day tour of Silicon Valley.

Mr Davidson said he is eager to share his findings with other schools, and plans to present his work at school and Archdiocese meetings, as well as state and national conferences.

He will also be required to submit a 3000-word report on the findings of his research when his trip is complete.

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