Fifteen students, their teachers and local Aboriginal community leaders have been busy at Marble Bar Primary School, transforming 2D Indigenous artwork into a first of its kind 3D Art Virtual Reality Gallery, which will be open online on 21 - 22 June for anyone, anywhere around the world to view.
Marc French - Operations Manager at Airborne IT - the organisation that originally introduced Virtual Reality to the school, said that what was originally an education innovation to encourage classroom engagement has now opened endless possibilities for the students.
“In 2020, Airborne IT flew around regional WA to give schools and students a trial at Virtual Reality for use in the classroom. Our goal was and is to close the gap in access to educational opportunities - especially for STEM learning - between metro and regional schools,” said Marc.
“Marble Bar Primary School’s teaching staff and students took to the VR experience immediately and continued to work with it when it became evident that this innovation contributed to reduced school absenteeism and increased interest in classroom learning.”
Students worked with Indigenous community leaders to create paintings on canvas depicting seasons and wildlife elements according to local Aboriginal culture and history. They then turned the 2D artwork into 3D and Virtual Reality format using Tilt Brush by Google.
The Marble Bar Primary School community have now taken this innovation to a new level, by building a Virtual Reality Art Gallery on AltspaceVR - a well known, premier online place to view and attend events in 3D.
The Marble Bar VR World Gallery will allow anyone from anywhere in the world to jump on their computers and mobile devices, and virtually walk through a gallery space the school has designed to view the students’ Indigenous artwork.
Local guest speakers and students will also be online to talk about the journey to create this art innovation and conduct a QA.
Julie Whabelone - Marble Bar resident and parent to some of the students involved in the VR World Gallery - commented on the positive impact the project had for not only her children’s education but also for showcasing Aboriginal Art and culture to the world.
“It has been great to see my kids and their fellow students going through an engaging and hands-on educational journey to create these amazing pieces of work,” said Julie.
“This initiative has sparked curiosity and passion amongst our students while also encouraging learning about and deeper understanding of our rich Aboriginal culture and history. I hope we can see more of these types of projects in the future.”
Future uptake of the VR innovation is looking positive with Mission Australia and Hedland Senior High School both expressing interest to do a virtual reality collaboration project with Marble Bar Primary School.
“Opportunities for STEM learning, developing employability skills and deepening problem solving capabilities via VR is endless. We are, for example, currently exploring a project to turn 2D objects into 3D with Marble Bar Primary School for Virtual Reality Gaming - a multi-billion global industry,” said Marc.
For more information and to register for the free Marble Bar VR World Gallery viewing on 21 - 22 June, from 8.45am onwards, visit https://account.altvr.com/events/1754432141707444368