A SCOTS council has become the first in the UK to to provide virtual reality headsets for every school.

The £250,000 investment will ensure virtual reality and 3D learning becomes an embedded part of teaching for all pupils at East Renfrewshire Council's 30 primary and secondary schools.

Schools around the world have been introducing virtual reality which can take pupils on field trips to the most inaccessible corners of the planet.

Recent Lenovo research found that 94 percent of teachers believe that virtual reality would improve classroom teaching, with almost half of teachers estimating VR will be commonplace in schools in the next five years.

Designed by educational technology company Avantis, the new headsets give pupils access to hundreds of virtual and augmented reality activities.

More than 900 ClassVR headsets are being rolled out across the authority and will offer pupils an enhanced learning experience in all areas of the curriculum.


Pupils and their teacher at St John’s Primary, Barrhead, test out the devices 

Councillor Paul O’Kane, convener for education and equalities at East Renfrewshire Council, said: “We are committed to providing the best learning experiences possible for all our pupils.

“By investing in this kind of immersive technology it will provide our children with experiences and sensations that they may never experience in reality and brings learning to life in a way that ignites their imagination.

“As the first local authority in the UK to make this commitment to virtual reality there is no doubt that East Renfrewshire will continue to be at the very forefront of digital learning in the country.

“Combined with traditional teaching methods these virtual reality headsets will enhance our pupils’ learning experiences and push them to new heights.

“This initiative will equip our young people for the increasingly digitised world in which we live and I’m sure the benefits will be fantastic.

“We have already seen from our successful pilot project that pupils using the headsets had a significant increase in engagement and knowledge retention, so I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of this investment across the whole area.”

The biggest barrier to full adoption of VR in education has ben cost. And while mobile VR such as Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR offer cheap alternatives to full VR units, the pps available are said by experts to be somewhat limited.