Sshhh... it's the pre-launch of a very special app!
HELLO! MY NAME IS JULES! I am a naturalist, zoology correspondent, author, science-writer and presenter. As well as this, I'm also really proud to be a UK Ambassador for Science. I work with 25,000 pupils across the UK each year in this role and recently I've been exploring new ways to engage young people in STEM...
Here's the deal...
I've written an app that allows pupils to go on VR field-trips through a mobile phone. The app works with Google Cardboard (less than £10) or any other VR headset. The 360/VR videos offered through this app feature museums and other educational sites across the UK, including the Jurassic Coast, Cheddar Gorge and the Natural History Museum, London. The videos are written and presented by me.
The app is free to use and download and each VR field-trip corresponds with stated Key Stage 2 national curriculum targets for science. The app is almost ready to go!
Sound interesting? Brill. I need your help though...
The app will be released in June 2017. It will be available to everyone, totally free. BUT! I need your help to trial it before the proper release. Interested? Intrigued? Then please do read on...
"WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS APP?"
I work with many schools that can no longer afford the cost of field-trips and, well, I think this is a terrible thing. Without early experiences of natural wonders, what kind of scientists will we encourage? And how will we encourage them? It worries me. I also work with many pupils, particularly in hospital schools, whose field-trip opportunities may be limited. What chance might they have? I believe that, without field-trips, we limit the potential of young people considering a life in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths).
Could an app like this work? Will it help young people learn and better understand the natural world? Honestly, I don't know the answer to that question, hence why I'm keen to trial this idea!
"IS THIS REALLY ALL FREE?"
Yes! (Did I tell you that?). These 360/VR videos are available through a free app available via Google Play (download it here or click on the link below) and 360/VR videos will be updated regularly, I hope. The videos are not intended to replace field-trips (seriously, what could replace real-life field-trips?) but they offer, I hope, an alternative to those on a limited budget or those with limited mobility.
Please download the app and give it a whirl! Tell me what you think and how it might be improved. If you like it, please do tell others about this page via Twitter or Facebook or give the app a good rating on Google Play. (Also: If you have teachers who are friends of yours, tell them about it!). Alternatively, if this project piques your interest in another way, email me if you would like further information. I would absolutely love any support you might be able to offer.
DOWNLOAD IT NOW! REALLY EXCITED TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK!
Thanks and all best for now, Jules (firstname.lastname@example.org / @juleslhoward)