Learning About Life in Medieval Times with CoSpaces and Virtual Reality

I recently worked with a year 8 history class to experiment with CoSpaces. This is an easy to use 3D environment for creating 3D scenes, animations and interactions for Virtual Reality (VR). Have a look at their YouTube Channel for more ideas.

The Plan

I posted something of a learning sequence on Padlet, in the form of a mini project, where students worked their way through a series of questions that would lead them to develop particular objects in their Medieval Town. The kinds of questions I asked were:

  • Will you need a water source?
  • Will you need a Market Square?
  • What were Medieval streets like?
  • What was the biggest and grandest building in a Medieval town?
  • What about houses in Medieval towns?
  • What about people and animals?
  • What was the structure that kept Medieval towns safe?
  • What was Farming in Medieval times like?

The Results

The results were not too bad. For me, this was really just an experiment to see how easy CoSpaces was to use. To this end, I would really encourage you to give it a go as it is probably the easiest 3D environment I know of and students picked it up quickly.

From a learning point of view, students also seemed to pick up on the knowledge associated with the questions that I asked because they straight away recalled it and applied it to their creations.

Recommendations

As with any project that requires the creation of a PRODUCT of learning, there is quite a bit of lead-in time required to learn the skills needed to produce the 3D environment. At the other end, there is also a considerable amount of time needed to manufacture or produce the end product (the VR environment, in this case). This may be too much of an investment in time for the assessment of just one standard. Therefore, I would create a project that required all parts of the inquiry process; where students need to find gather data (primary and/or secondary source), evaluate information sources, apply, analyse and design/create a solution. This is fairly standard fare for Project Based Learning (PBL).