St Cuthbert Mayne School brings innovation into the classroom and mobilises learning pioneers

St Cuthbert Mayne School in Torquay recently welcomed Year 5 students from St Marychurch Primary  School for an immersive virtual reality learning adventure, so they could gain a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom and the evolving educational landscape.

Google Expeditions Associate Jacinth Fisher, a St Cuthbert Mayne alumnus, ensured her former secondary school didn’t miss out on Google’s new Expeditions Pioneer Programme when its new App. launched in Britain.  Adding Torbay to Google’s UK school tour, she returned home to introduce them to the Expeditions experience herself.

With technology fully integrated into the learning experience at St Cuthbert Mayne, and having already trialled Google Cardboard virtual reality viewers, staff believed they had the capability, knowledge, expertise and resources to invite the wider community in to join them on their journey and become expedition pioneers, alongside their own pupils. They also offered their primary school counterparts training in the technology.

Equipped with everything needed to travel into space, the 45 primary school students donned their cardboard headsets and with phones synced inside them, jumped into mission control before blasting off in a rocket to the moon, following the very first landing undertaken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

“We’re moving forward with technology in the classroom at a really fast pace and these kinds of community outreach initiatives provide amazing ‘hands on’ experiences and a valuable insight into the future of education,” says Adam Shaikh, Lead Practitioner, St Cuthbert Mayne School.

“Nothing can replace an actual field trip but virtual experiences can help connect and engage learners with the world around them, bring abstract concepts to life and make a massive impact on learning and teaching effectiveness,” added Adam.

Year 7 English students, Year 9 Scientists and Year 10 Geographers and Historians at St Cuthbert Mayne School were also taken to exotic climes, enjoyed an underwater expedition to see marine life in action for a descriptive writing stimulus, studied animal adaptation in a Borneo rainforest, toured inside the human body to discover how the ear and brain process sound, ‘met’ a group of natural science experts, visited Teotihuacan – a world heritage site in Mexico and expanded their virtual knowledge of World War 1.