Our product, Kolb, has been successfully developed and is now available for download. The Kolb Antarctica Experience teaches high school students about the environment in an interactive way. The next step for Kolb is to collaborate with educational institutions to encourage its adoption. One organisation we have been working with includes the University of Wollongong. In doing so, new experiential learning software is accessible to schools across the country.
Kolb is a series of scenarios, designed to enhance student learning. Content is delivered in virtual reality (VR) where individuals can interact with the environment. This method is based on the Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb 1984). Each scenario has been mapped to the Department of Education’s High School Curriculum. It also utilises gamification, which is the application of game-like thinking. This is evident in the incorporation of activities. This results in educational, informative and engaging learning.
One of the first schools to participate in research testing for Kolb was Sherwood Hills Christian School (SHCS) in Campbelltown. Head of Primary Teaching, Suzanne Zorn, says that the students were excited to use VR in their classes.
“It makes it much easier to get the kids to participate when it involves something fun like the VR, the participation and interest level of the classes is consistently high as they look forward to the active learning experience it offers.”
Kolb Antarctica Experience
The first scene developed within Kolb is an Antarctic experience. Students are ‘transported’ to a realistic rendering of Antarctica when wearing the VR headset.
The scenario begins with an introduction by scientist, Dr Louise Emmerson. During her welcome, she explains her purpose as a scientist working in Antarctica, her significance to the environment and the activities that take place. After this, the user takes a photograph of a penguin to complete the data collection process. Then, variety of resources are provided to the student. Their dispersion is staggered at various times during the experience. The purpose of this is to keep the user engaged, test their intuitiveness, problem solving and understanding of the concepts discussed. Through this experience, students are able to learn by doing at a comfortable pace.
Through Kolb, student’s increase their knowledge and awareness of Antarctica. Additionally, students observe ‘first-hand’ the landscape and ecosystem in Antarctica. This can result in a greater awareness for the natural environment. Specifically, how their actions may impact and affect it.
As the scenarios develop, each will harness students’ dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, creativity, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination, and reflexivity. With this in mind, the goal is to provide a new dimension of learning which complements current learning styles.
Suzanne Zorn discusses how beneficial this could be;
“We are really excited to receive more curriculum-based content from Devika, it provides such a helpful and effective tool for our students.”
Other schools have participated in the research for the Kolb Antarctica Experience. They include St Joseph's High School, Figtree High School, Mount Ousley Public School, Dapto Public School and Warilla High School.