Thanks to the genius of virtual reality technology, junior secondary students have been ditching their usual creative tools for VR headsets – and the results have been out of this world. “It’s been wonderful watching their faces, the second they put these goggles on,” Year 7 coordinator Adam Baker says.
“The reactions are priceless. They just can’t imagine how amazing it is – there’s big smiles and a lot of kids looking in through the window.” In what is thought to be an Australian-first, the Queensland school has entered a Create Noosa VR art competition, giving children the chance to unleash their artistic prowess on infinite 3D canvasses.
Using the Google Tilt Brush program, Baker reports that the creative process has really been taken to another level.
“They put on the goggles and they have two controllers in their hands, one controller [operates] all the brushes, colours, tools that they’ll need to paint,” he explains. “And the other hand is a wand that is the brush, so they can select to paint with normal oil paint, or light, or things like bubbles, they can paint with fire – they can paint all these different textures and shapes.
They can import different scaffolds and different grids and frames ... so they can map out what they are going to paint and use some guides to help them construct shapes and go from there.” While it might sound like a classroom activity plucked straight from the world of Harry Potter, Baker says there is a real-world theme that students must adhere to.
“They have attacked the idea of ‘lost and found’, so that’s the criteria they are judging against.” One particularly disarming entry stands out in the educators’ mind. “One of the girls has created a world, it’s like a globe, and in the really populated parts of the world – Hong Kong and places like that – she’s put a lot of skyscrapers that are flying out of the globe.
They have created this massive smog that’s enveloping the world. “Then in non-populated parts of the world, there’s symbols like trees that are appearing to die off as a result of the smog and pollution.”