A NEW type of classroom with a technology focus could be the future of education, with a school in Shaftesbury now leading the way forward as a testing site.

Back in October Shaftesbury School launched the ‘Future Classroom’, which transformed the traditional learning environment into a futuristic space with touch screens, a green screen, augmented reality and more.

Last week new virtual reality software was introduced to the school, making it the only establishment in Europe testing this particular kit.

“It’s radically different to anything I’ve ever seen in education,” said Alex More, the school’s lead teacher of innovation in teaching and learning.

He added that Shaftesbury School was selected to trial the new software as it had become a “test bed for new technologies”.

Describing these technologies as “a new field in education”, Alex said: “I was quite sceptical of it at first because the things that I had experienced while working with kids had been quite fun and jovial, but a bit disruptive and not very educational.”

Now, Alex believes the features and technologies currently used at Shaftesbury School will “be really popular” and they are products he can see “in every school”.

Previously Alex told the Journal that the new layer of teaching through technology aimed to improve and make learning more interesting.

He added: “This is the classroom after the Covid-19 storm – we’ve been forced to embrace technology , suddenly there’s a real vested interest.”

The latest addition to the school, which was first trialled by the pupils of key workers last week, is a virtual reality experience focussing on a child’s social and emotional health.

Created by Curiious, the WISE software is designed to help pupils with mental health conditions - taking them on a virtual journey focussing on mindfulness across a nine-week course.

After the introductory session on Friday, Alex said: “The feedback was incredible, the children were really loving it.

"They said they felt really calm when they came out of it, that they had been given some time to think about their emotions.

“This platform is giving those children that struggle with school and life a space to go on a journey virtually, but emotionally and socially through these worlds.”

With the majority of Shaftesbury School pupils currently working remotely from home, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, Alex said now is the opportunity to see “technology as a benefit” and “the way forward”.

When asked if he could see the features of the future classroom rolled out to every classroom and lesson, Alex said that some children did miss the traditional classroom environment, including desks and the teacher being positioned at the front.

“It’s not for everyone, it’s a different way of teaching,” he added.

Bringing the new WISE software to a school would be an additional expenditure when it comes to the market in the spring, costing £5,000, with headsets from RedBoxVR costing £400 each.

Alex said: “Does the price outweigh the benefit of putting 200 children through this program? I don’t think it does.”

Get more Salisbury news or follow Blackmore Vale news updates here.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.