Virtual Learning with Mark Ellis

Virtual reality is the next step in the evolution of education, and we at Twig World are always evolving to keep pace with the latest development in science education. So, it was only natural for us to contribute to Google Expeditions – the best virtual learning resource for the classroom.


Also, because we believe in working in partnership with teachers, rather than just delivering a product, we have our very own Mark Ellis speaking at the COBIS Annual Conference, focusing specifically on how schools and educators can get the best out of Google Expeditions.


Mark was kind enough to a give us a sneak peak into what he’ll be speaking about.



Twig: Tell us a little bit about yourself.


Mark: I was a teacher in the UK for 11 years, specialising in sixth-form science, before moving to work for an educational charity where I ran national school improvement programmes in STEM and vocational learning. I then moved to the National Science Learning Centre at York for three years, in a business development role. At Twig I am the Head of Professional Development. In my current position, I am involved in every aspect of pedagogy, including working with the content team on advanced content and giving advice on pedagogical approaches in various products.


Twig: Can you quickly summarise virtual reality in education?


Mark: Virtual reality is an immersive way of learning. It’s learning by seeing and being there in the moment. Obviously, it isn’t always possible to travel physically to say, the top of a pyramid or outer space – that’s where virtual learning comes in. It allows you to travel virtually anywhere, safely. For students, it introduces that bit of excitement to classroom learning and fosters a culture of questioning, which is important in all classrooms.


Twig: What have you been doing with virtual learning?


Mark: We have partnered with Google Education to deliver Google Expeditions, which are short virtual reality tours around the world. So, you can learn how about how an Aston Martin is made, or how to fly Eurofighter Typhoon.


Twig: What are your findings? Would you say that Google Expeditions is a more effective way of learning?


Mark: I would say that Google Expeditions is effective in fostering student engagement. If we think about it, what do students want? They want a bit of excitement and something to remember. I think this is a really good way to get children excited about lessons – they come up with questions and actually engage with what they are learning.


Twig: What are you speaking about at the conference? Why should people come and listen?


Mark: I believe that any multimedia source should be clearly linked to learning outcomes and we want educators to get the most out of virtual learning. So, I’ll be talking about some of the things we learnt about making virtual reality more effective in the classroom, with a definite focus on lesson planning using Google Expeditions.


We hope you’re looking forward to Mark’s presentation as much as we are. If you are attending the COBIS conference this year, make sure you pop by stand 84 and say hello!

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