Nelson College Is Teaching Languages Through VR

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Nelson College Is Teaching Languages Through VR
June 27, 2017

Scott Cardwell of ImmerseMe with Nelson College for Girls year 10 student Alyah Archer at demonstration of the programme at the college.

 

What if you could practice foreign languages in school while talking to real people, in a real situation?

 

This thought was at the back of Nelson College alumni Scott Cardwell's mind when he created ImmerseMe, a virtual reality language learning tool.

 

Cardwell said he realised he was lacking practical language skills while travelling through Europe for six months.

A screen grab from a Paris street conversation in the ImmerseMe tool.

 

"As a traveller I thought; 'Oh man, I wish I could practice these simple scenarios'."

Scott Cardwell, CEO of ImmerseMe at Nelson College for Girls during a demonstration of the virtual reality programme.

 

Cardwell said he did some research and found out no one else had created a product that connected virtual reality with learning languages.

 

So ImmerseMe was born 18 months ago. Cardwell and co-founder Jeremy Hanff travelled Europe and Asia for two months with a 360 degree camera to record different situations, such as ordering a coffee in a restaurant in Germany or buying a loaf of bread in Paris.

 

On May 4 the tool went live, and on Friday it was presented to Nelson College for Girls, who tested the tool in its beta version.

 

Students Rhona Aran, 14, and Hannah Bryant, 15, said they enjoyed working with the tool.

 

Aran said using the tool made the speaking aspect of learning a new language more real.

 

"You can kind of put yourself in the situation where you're in France, and you need to buy a loaf of bread."

 

Bryant said it was very handy that you only had to learn the side of the conversation that you'd most likely use.

 

Cardwell said they mainly focussed on introducing the tool to schools and travellers. He said they had offered Nelson College for Girls the tool for free for the rest of the year. 

 

He said ImmerseMe launched with English, French, Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, Indonesian and Greek, but was looking to continually add more languages over the next couple of years. 

 

For now, students and travellers can get an account on immerseme.co and learn new languages through the interactive situations on their screen. Cardwell said they would be looking at developing the virtual reality aspect of the tool to incorporate virtual reality headsets. 

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