Teaching Innovation Awards Winner

University of Glasgow

Science Education
Dr. Gabriella Rodolico, Dr. Clare Smith, Nicola Jones, Dr. Lauren Boath, Laura Gallagher
Teaching innovation award winner badge

Overview

Within the University of Glasgow World Changers Together 2025 strategy there is an emphasis on “Investing in our digital realm to enhance the staff and student experience”. In the School of Education (SoE), we have implemented cutting edge digital technology to enhance our initial teacher science education courses. The aim is to create high quality teaching and learning that helps develop Technological and Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science in our student teachers. With the careful blending of our expertise and the support of research-based evidence, the Science teaching team at SoE implemented technology supported lessons using Head Mounted Display (HMD) Virtual Reality (VR) ClassVR; H5P Digital Escape room built on our Moodle pages; VR by Proxy which can be remotely delivered when coupled with digital platforms like Zoom, and eXtended Reality (XR). We created opportunities for our undergraduate and postgraduate students to use and evaluate innovative technologies and complement them with more traditional teaching strategies. For example, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we organised a pit-stop tour of active learning methods in preparation for an on-campus teaching session for our PGDE primary student teachers. Using a metalevel approach, student teachers had the chance to test several teaching tools. Students moved from traditional peak flow meters and body organ aprons to innovative augmented reality t-shirts showing the internal organs, and finally ClassVR headsets with an immersive virtual tour around the body. This video shows examples from these sessions.

Student from Corpus Christi Primary School using the VR headset.
Student from Corpus Christi Primary School using the VR headset.

University of Glasgow has two VR projects: Project Mobius, Edify and the recently launched collaboration with Eon-XR. During the pandemic we collaborated with the School of Life Sciences using VR by Proxy Edify, to promote procedural knowledge in PGDE Biology while teaching lab skills. We also showed student teachers an example of desktop VR and AR extended reality, by using Eon-XR, to introduce a visual and concrete manipulative way to teach abstract concepts in the school science curriculum.

Another example is the use of digital escape rooms. Evidence show that escape rooms could enhance collaboration skills. These were created by overlapping a series of interactive elements, on a video, through the H5P app on our Moodle virtual learning platform. This form of active learning supported by digital technology was delivered remotely using Zoom and breakout rooms. Students were divided in several groups of 5 and assigned to a breakout room. They could leave the room only if they would get to the final message after completing the escape room tasks. The first interactive element would take students to a series of readings to share between the members of the group. After completing the assigned readings, students would come to a second interactive element opening a questionnaire with a series of one-word answer questions, all related to the assigned readings. By collaborating students could work out a code made up by the initial letter of each answer. This final code could open (if correct) the final interactive element: “Congratulations you can leave the breakout room”.

Use of VR technology to teach science to primary students and train teachers.