Innovative use of VR creates immersive classroom experience

This immersive learning environment brings the world into the classroom, allowing students to explore without leaving the school grounds.

A groundbreaking example of weaving Virtual Reality into the classroom setting, Coomera Anglican College’s Imaginaruim is a facility most schools would dream of having.

Featuring six laser projectors and cinema-quality surround sound, the Imaginarium creates a seamless 360-degree sensory experience without the need for wearable technology such as VR headsets. The learning space, through the use of technology, can teleport students from the icy cold environments of Antarctica to the sweltering Sahara Desert and even the solar system- all in a school day!

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The Imaginarium is believed to be one of only a few fully immersive and interactive learning spaces in Australia. In the five years since its installation, it has become a beloved facility for both teachers and students.

Centred around a thINQ inquiry framework, the school focuses on structured and guided inquiry as the vehicle to develop a curriculum that is both student-centred and student-driven.

“As our students step into the Imaginarium you can feel the excitement and anticipation from the students, as they know they are about to embark on a guided inquiry project,” Coomera Anglican College IT Services Manager Darryl Hall said.

“The space is large enough that we can basically fit whole cohorts in there, so it’s a really collaborative experience.

“The students walk back to the classroom fully engaged after the activity, bouncing ideas off each other, asking and delving into more questions and the teachers are supporting, by extending the engagement further.”

Mr Hall added that the Imaginarium is closely tied in with the student’s curriculum and is updated frequently to expand the experiences for students.

“As part of inspiring teaching, learning, service and faith – which is at the core of what we do, we are continually working with teachers around content and ideas, so we can use the facility in different ways.

“As an Early Learning to Year 12 College, our content needs to be adaptable to different age groups. Some cohorts are learning about different weather patterns and they can be fully immersed into the Imaginarium and experience in a safe and secure environment bushfires, floods, or earthquakes.”

With such a well-utilised and loved space, when the time came to refresh the Imaginarium and update the technology, Mr Hall knew that he had to reach out to a company he trusted.

“Over time the colour and clarity of our old projectors had begun to fade, and we reached out to BenQ after working with them on other projects at the school,” Mr Hall said. “We basically just opened up the conversation and they were able to come on board and help us update the technology.”

Image supplied by Coomera Anglican College

Martin Moelle, Managing Director of BenQ Australia said that the biggest consideration with the Imaginarium refresh was ensuring a long-lasting and accurate colour image.

“This was made possible by the latest laser light source and DLP technology,” he said. “The solution ultimately brought a professional product that can handle high-quality contents displayed using edge blending for the desired outcome.”

When it came to selecting the model of projectors, Mr Moelle said that reliability was key. “The LU9245 model was chosen for its high reliability and low maintenance, meaning no filter cleaning or lamp changes required besides outstanding colour reproduction,” he said. “This is a big plus when projectors are ceiling mounted. Additionally, the LU9245 offers considerably low power consumption, helping to keep the overall installation efficient and at a minimal cost.”

Mr Moelle said the new projectors had made a “massive” difference to the Imaginarium, with clearer images helping to elevate the space even further.

While BenQ had worked on countless installations over the years, the Coomera Imaginarium held a special place in the team’s heart. “The immersive and simulation trend is in full swing and the Coomera Imaginarium is a brilliant example that is ahead of the curve,” Mr Webb said.

“Alongside edge blended installations, users are demanding more “true to life” experiences for sports and training.

“This is where BenQ projectors continue to shine. CAC has created an exceptional learning space for students to really benefit from a technologically leading-edge environment.

“BenQ is proud to have been selected to be a part of their ongoing journey.”

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