Students at Rapids Landing Primary School are using virtual reality to learn more about protecting the region’s environment. The school is using virtual and augmented reality devices to help students escape their classrooms and experience nature. And it has hosted leading Primary Extension and Challenge students from across the district to share the lessons learnt. Rapids Landing Primary School principal Lisa Helenius said the technology helped foster students’ lifelong learning experiences by encouraging critical and creative thinking. “Pre-primary students of 2021 will be leaving secondary school in 2033,” she said. “We already need to engage productively in a world where technology is changing rapidly. “We feel that incorporating VR and AR technology into teaching and learning programs is one way of exposing students to new ways of thinking and learning.” Under the program, students chose to investigate invasive species, biodiversity, beach litter, land clearing, and local renewable-energy projects. On excursions to Redgate Beach and Wooditjup National Park, they captured 360-degree images of research locations using a Ricoh Theta camera. Students were then able to create virtual tours using the captured images combined with interactive tags aimed at educating and sharing solutions to environmental issues. Older students are designing a virtual school tour using the same process, and students also used the headset technology for virtual excursions to Mars and underwater environments. Assistant principal and STEM co-ordinator Leigh Westcott said the new technology was integrated across the whole school. “AV and VR have been effective vehicles for strengthening our students’ curiosity and real-world problem solving,” he said. Other projects included using measurement and geometry skills to design virtual public open spaces for the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Ms Helenius said STEM at Rapids Landing promoted “real world learning opportunities that promote 21st century skills so students are engaged, creative and innovative global citizens”.