Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

New Zealand: VR Tech for Training in Early Childhood Education

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In early childhood education, the practical experience of working with infants (0-6 months) poses a significant challenge for aspiring educators. Many individuals passionate about effectively engaging with infants have limited or no opportunities to interact with children of this age during their training.

Image credits: canterbury.ac.nz

Recognising this gap, a pioneering trans-disciplinary study led by Professor Jayne White from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC), in collaboration with UC’s HIT Lab NZ and Te Kaupeka Ako: Faculty of Education, is harnessing the power of digital technology to address this challenge.

Professor Jayne initiated the study after identifying an issue for student teachers who lacked ready access to real-life infants as part of their qualification. This collaboration quickly garnered interest from Associate Professor Heide Lukosch, Head of HIT Lab NZ’s Applied Immersive Game Initiative (AIGI), which seeks to enhance research and public use of immersive gaming applications to improve personal, social, educational, and health-related outcomes.

The study, supported by funding from the University’s Child Well-being Research Institute, has conducted its first trial of a VR prototype. According to Professor White, while VR has proven effective for learning practical skills across various disciplines, its potential within education remains largely untapped. The team is excited about the possibilities and opportunities for future development VR can offer in education.

Associate Professor Heide highlighted the challenge that non-familial adults often face in understanding infants’ verbal and non-verbal cues despite infants being capable of expressing themselves from birth. The VR tool being developed aims to provide the necessary support for understanding and responding to these cues effectively, thereby enhancing relational skills for adults working with infants.

Informed by the Mātauranga Māori concept of Whanaungatanga and guided by UC Senior Lecturer Dr Ngaroma Williams, the study aims to identify key elements necessary to support relational skills for adults working with infants and translate them into innovative training environments. The team is intrigued by the potential of virtual environments to provide access to situations that would otherwise be difficult or dangerous to access.

A crucial element of the VR experience is using haptic gloves, which incorporate technology to simulate the sensation of handling an infant. This realistic touch adds depth to the interactions, allowing users to feel present and accountable for their actions in virtual scenarios involving infants. These interactions include interpreting and responding to non-verbal cues regarding virtual infant wants or preferences.

As the study progresses towards commercialisation, the team hopes the design principles derived from this study can be applied to other validated training environments, making this innovative approach accessible to various fields and industries beyond early childhood education. Integrating artificial intelligence in the future could further enhance adaptability and realism in these virtual training scenarios.

In collaboration with Professor Tony Walls and Dr Niki Newman from the University of Otago Simulation Centre, the study also incorporates healthcare elements, broadening its application beyond education. This multi-faceted approach underscores the potential of digital technology, particularly VR, to revolutionise training and education across diverse fields, ultimately enhancing the quality of care and education provided to infants and beyond.

The potential for VR technology to transform training and education across diverse fields is immense. By leveraging the power of digital technology, we can create more effective, engaging, and inclusive learning experiences that benefit practitioners, students, and, ultimately, the individuals they serve.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com