Virtual Classroom

Ericsson/Connect to Learn / VR experience

The brief

Ericsson partner with Earth Institute, a part of Columbia University, to form Connect to Learn – a global initiative that supports education for those all over the world who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to learn. They tasked us with coming up with a virtual training tool for teachers in developing countries to help them become more confident and effective educators.

The challenge

As the training tool is being rolled out across a range of countries, it needed to work across multiple languages, as well as being easy to use for people who hadn’t tried VR before. On top of that, the hardware needed to be easily replaceable and as cost-effective as possible, and we had to take cultural differences into consideration.

The solution

We designed and built a fully interactive virtual classroom using CGI and aspects of gamification to monitor and assess the user’s performance in real time – including the volume and tone of their voice, how often they make eye contact with their pupils and how frequently they move around the class. The experience runs on Samsung Gear VRs, which are are easily portable and robust, and we user-tested the experience thoroughly on people who hadn’t experienced VR before to make sure it was easy to use. The content can also be loaded up in different languages, depending on where the experience is being used.

The experience

With a lesson plan to deliver within the experience, teachers in training have the perfect space to practise before they take on a real class. If they don’t hit certain parameters within the virtual class, such as not asking enough questions or not moving around enough, then the children become distracted and visually fade to prompt the user to vary their style of delivery – helping to hone their skills. Plus, to support the project, we created 360° videos of real life Connect to Learn classrooms in Myanmar, which were shown via Oculus Rift headsets at Ericsson’s Mobile World Congress 2017 before the virtual classroom launches summer 2017.