- VR field trips to expose underprivileged students to more
- Google donating 30 Google Cardboard VR devices to the project
MALAYSIAN crowdfunding platform for education projects Give.my is urging people to donate their old smartphones to its Virtual Reality Field Trips programme for underprivileged students.
The programme gives old smartphones new life by turning them into virtual reality (VR) devices which allow children to experience 360-degree views of places, and even documentaries, all around the world.
The programme targets orphanages and schools where children might not otherwise be able to go on field trips, Give.my said in a statement.
Give.my was created in partnership with national ICT custodian the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), social enterprise startup Tandemic, and SekolahKu and Kelip-Kelip.
Teachers in schools from Penang to Sarawak have raised funds from individuals to run education projects benefiting over 3,000 students in the past six months, it said.
Google Inc is donating 30 units of its Google Cardboard VR device to the project. Give.my is seeking 30 donated mobile phones to go along with the Google Cardboard units so it can begin taking the virtual field trips to classrooms and larger groups at orphanages.
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“We’ve been taking Google Cardboard to orphanages and it’s been an eye-opening experience for children,” said Give.my cofounder Kal Joffres.
“In partnership with Girls for Good, an NGO (non-governmental organisation) that teaches creativity to girls, Give.my showed girls in orphanages Clouds over Sidra, a virtual reality documentary about a girl in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
“Virtual reality really makes you feel like you’ve been teleported into the refugee camp, like you’re actually standing there in the thick of things,” he added.
Google Cardboard units are headsets into which a mobile phone can be inserted. Using special VR software running on the phone, users hold the headset up to their faces and experience a new environment in a 360-degree view.
Many children in Malaysia have not had the privilege of going on field trips because their families cannot afford them, or because their schools are too far from meaningful attractions, Give.my said.
“One of my students … said that he has never had the opportunity to go out of Mahang,” said Azzuan Ahmad, a teacher at SMK Mahang, Kedah.
“I discovered that going out of Mahang and even going to Kulim is a luxury that some of them can’t afford.
“With such limited exposure, what’s most lacking for my students is this value of cultural awareness and also respect for other races,” he said in the statement issued by Give.my.
Azzuan successfully fundraised RM2,400 for a student field trip to various cultural sites in Penang, via Give.my’s crowdfunding platform. [RM1 – US$0.23]
Unfortunately, that kind of funding cannot be extended to all schools with underprivileged students.
The Virtual Reality Field Trips initiative will be part of a Give.my programme travelling to schools and orphanages.
Most Android and iPhones made in the last three years can be used with Google Cardboard, it said. Each mobile phone donor will receive an impact report detailing the learning experiences children received and the orphanages and schools where the programme was run.
Donors who choose to donate over RM200 to the project will receive their own Google Cardboard unit and 360-degree virtual reality photos that let them see the classrooms and orphanages where the programme was run.
Interested donors can go to www.give.my/vr.
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