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Crescent Girls’ School Debuts Mixed Reality Learning in Virtual Nuclear Disaster With HoloLens

Launched as a tripartite collaboration between Crescent Girls’ School (CGS), Serl.io and Microsoft, cutting-edge Mixed Reality (MR) technology comes to the classroom in the form of holographic virtual simulations that transport students across locations and time.

This MR learning experience is the first implemented in Singapore, leveraging on the simplicity and portability of the Microsoft HoloLens to target the present education curriculum. 

Crescent Girls’ School student interacting with a virtual model of a nuclear plant and its surroundings. Image: Crescent Girls’ School, Microsoft

Students from the school demonstrated a classroom module designed by Serl.io that allowed participants to experience firsthand the process and effects of gene mutation and food webs as part of an upper secondary Biology module entitled “Eco-lysis”.

With the ability to transport students to far-flung places, warp time effortlessly, and to provide access to otherwise prohibitively expensive and difficult-to-use specialist scientific instrument, MR is the ideal vehicle for certain portions of the school curriculum that can be inaccessible or theoretical.

Through the HoloLens, teams of four students choose specialisations as ecologists or geneticists, and explore a nuclear disaster site to conduct field work studying the effect of nuclear fallout. 

The first-person view by students interacting with the virtual environment. Hand gestures are used to select and manipulate elements. Image: Ian Ling

By transporting themselves seamlessly to different locations and time periods before and after the incident, students are able to collaborate to collect cross-sectional samples of water, soil and wildlife. After which, students utilise virtual representations of specialist equipment like gene sequencers, geiger counters and stereo microscope to assess the effects of nuclear radiation on the environment.

With plans to extend the use of MR applications to other fields of science, or even beyond, HoloLens emerges as an ideal choice of platform. A fully self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10, the HoloLens is easy-to-operate, with no cables and controls to fiddle with.

The Microsoft HoloLens. Image: Microsoft

Teachers play an important role in overseeing content and providing feedback to developers from Serl.io. By piquing interest in students prior to the MR experience and conducting effective reflection sessions after, students are able to absorb the most from the MR Learning Experience.

Effective monitoring and supervision by teachers can be performed through their laptops, where they are able to monitor the progress, camera feeds and battery levels of a full class of students.

Students conducting field work collecting data in the vicinity of the nuclear plant. Image: Ian Ling

This demonstration was held in conjunction with the 6th Digital Age Learning Conference (DALC) held in CGS. Eco-lysis will be implemented as part of the Biology curriculum across all Secondary Four Biology classes in the school.

Ian Ling
http://uncommontragedy.com
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

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