Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News

Practising with VR preschool class wins Dutch Education Award 2024

27 June 2024
decorative image
Jolien Mouw

The project ‘De Klas op Orde met Virtual Reality’ [Order in the classroom with virtual reality] of the University of Groningen won the Dutch Education Award 2024. The Dutch Education Award is the highest award in secondary vocational and higher education. The project is a collaboration between Jolien Mouw, assistant professor of Educational Sciences, the UG’s Center for Information Technology (CIT), and others, and it has been awarded an amount of €1.2 million.

The Dutch Education Award is an annual prize awarded by the Netherlands Initiative for Educational Research (NRO) for exceptional educational initiatives. The prize is awarded to educational teams in appreciation of and as encouragement for educational innovation and improvement.

Practising in a VR classroom

Maintaining order in the preschool classroom requires very specific skills, but how do you develop these? Within ‘De Klas op Orde met Virtual Reality’, primary school teacher training students, both from universities of applied sciences and the 'academsiche pabo' at the UG are able to practise in a simulated environment using virtual reality. With VR goggles and a VR classroom filled with preschooler avatars, they can practise constructive strategies to deal with disturbances. There are various scenarios to choose from, such as a loud fire truck passing by or children crawling under tables. It is up to the student to put the learned theory into virtual practice.

Having fun in front of the class

The VR environment gives students the opportunity to practise with different scenarios and strategies in a realistic environment. ‘From the moment you put on those glasses, you are actually in the teacher’s shoes. You are immediately standing in front of the group,’ one student says in a video about the project. ‘It's mainly a lot of fun and a good way to get a lot of practice.’  Marjon Fokkens-Bruinsma, associate professor of Higher Education, continues: ‘The most important aspect of our educational innovation is that students learn to interact better with preschoolers in a safe way, that they are taught complex strategies and thus also enjoy being in front of the classroom more.’

Close collaboration

The virtual learning environment was developed by the Visualization team of the UG’s CIT in close collaboration with Jolien Mouw. The tool is currently being used in the academic primary education teacher-training programme of the UG, but the Ede Christian University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, and university of applied sciences Thomas More Hogeschool are also involved in the application and further development of the VR preschool classroom.

Last modified:28 June 2024 11.20 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

More news