One of Redvile's main goals was to develop new innovative tools and methods for teaching and learning experiences. Matis' role in the project was to conduct an intervention study with the aim of evaluating whether virtual reality-based educational material will have a greater impact on children's learning and attitudes than the traditional way of presenting the material.
The intervention study took place in autumn 2021 in collaboration with Matís, the Department of Education at the University of Iceland and six elementary schools in Reykjavík and Kópavogur.
The intervention included proposals for new teaching materials that emphasized healthy eating for their own well-being and that of the earth. The teaching material included a slide deck, a virtual reality video and practical exercises. The intervention went under the working title "The Tomato Project" where the theme was tomatoes. Emphasis was placed on sustainability, the origin of food, food technology, food production, food waste, etc. in relation to tomatoes. The teachers in the schools presented the curriculum to their students, aged 12-13, and the students answered questions that were asked at the beginning and end of the intervention, as well as interviews were conducted with the teachers after the end of the intervention. The schools were divided into three groups according to the type of teaching material: those that received only slides (1) with the lesson plan, slides and video shown on a screen (2) and slides and video shown in virtual reality glasses (3).
The results of the intervention indicate that the use of virtual reality in teaching can increase interest in food and contribute to changes in children's attitudes towards healthier eating. Overall, teachers were satisfied with the teaching material, the teachers who had used the virtual reality glasses were the most enthusiastic. The intervention also demonstrated that virtual reality can be used as a tool integrated with other activities in primary schools.
A positive learning experience and increased interest in healthy eating, incl. to eat tomatoes, was observed in all cases, regardless of the type of teaching material. Teachers were also satisfied with teaching materials that contained such a wide range of concepts that could be combined in the theme and how theoretical and practical learning could be integrated. The teachers' experience was that a lot of material could be covered in a relatively short time.
Here Here you can see Svava Sigríður Svavarsdóttir's presentation of the results of the project.
The teaching material that was developed as part of the project is open to all and free of charge. Please, refer to the authors when using the study material.