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Aberdeen unveils virtual tours of academies

02/06/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Aberdeen City Council has launched virtual tours of its two academies to help new pupils know what to expect when they begin in August.

Virtual classroom pic

Its education services team has set up the tours for Hazlehead Academy and Airyhall using Google Tour Creator.

Physical visits normally take place during the transition period but are not possible during the coronavirus lockdown.

A small team of staff members have been taking 360-degree photos of the schools’ exteriors and interior rooms, classes and halls to create the experience of a visit.

The council said it is also developing tools for special provision and primary schools.

Some of the tours have commentary guides and there are plans to extend the audio elements.

Sense of environment

Councillor John Wheeler, educational operational delivery convenor for Aberdeen, said: “While we cannot hold induction days at the moment, we can give pupils a real sense of what their new environments will be like. This a technology that is used widely in the USA and I’m certain it will prove a success in Aberdeen too.

“Given the advantages of virtual tours such as the learner being able to go on tour at their own pace and using technology such as iPads, laptops smartphones – and even virtual reality goggles – that children are familiar with, we will continue to use the tours beyond lockdown and into the future to support transition.”

A spokeswoman for One Stop Shop Autism in Aberdeen, said: “We wholeheartedly support this project and would encourage schools to keep it up to date every year to use in addition to traditional transition processes. Many autistic pupils may want to spend more time familiarising themselves with new settings, and this allows the opportunity to do just that.”

Image from Aberdeen City Council

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