IVA Global’s virtual school: ideal for homebound students

IVA Global Online School (www.ivaschool.online), has taken distance learning to a whole new level with the creation of a “3D virtual world” school. The 3D Virtual School is the first of its kind in South Africa where learners and teachers use avatars to learn and interact.

The school was founded in 2020 by John Luis, who was previously Academic Head of the ADvTECH Group of Schools, which has schools in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya. Luis is also a grade 12 math examiner in South Africa since 2006.

Launched in 2020, the 3D Virtual School allows teachers and students to interact and engage in a virtual classroom as if they were in a physical school, using avatars.

Students will start their school day by dressing their avatars, before walking through the school doors to their classrooms. Other features include the ability to bring the avatar up to the teacher to ask questions and sit and chat with other classmates.

Students attend class in small boardroom-like spaces for a small class speech, or in larger virtual classroom spaces where they can interact with interactive posters placed on the 3D walls of the classroom.

School assemblies and parents’ meetings take place in the auditorium, while subjects such as film studies take place in the cinema hall.

The 3D world also has a conference room in which the school hosts various professional educational conferences, including the virtual international exhibition on online education which was held from December 1 to 3, 2020.

In February 2021, the virtual school will host a conference for South African math teachers.

The functionality is as simple as downloading an app to a laptop and using the arrow keys or WASD keys on the keyboard to navigate the virtual world.

Students can go down to the beach and get on a speedboat for a sea ride, they can play soccer on the soccer field, or even go to the roof and play music.

The 3D Virtual School offers increased engagement compared to an online classroom where students sit in a Zoom meeting and look at squares with faces.

The school has a comprehensive online social component that includes collaborating with students around the world and engaging in student-initiated and led societies and clubs. The school also has an e-sport function where students team up and participate in different games.

As the “real world” has transformed and evolved, the educational arena has lagged behind for decades, struggling to move beyond the standards and practices that perpetuate the spirit of the Industrial Revolution. . The Covid-19 pandemic has rocked the physical classroom, making it somewhat obsolete if operated without technology. Some schools have had to close their doors, forcing learners and teachers to migrate their learning to digital platforms.

Luis said the creation of the online school was driven by a growing need for learners to take ownership of their learning as well as a desire to manage their own time and schoolwork, as opposed to a traditional school setting, where learning, productivity and efficiency are low.

Tuition fees start from R24,990 for class R and are R29,990 from fourth to 12th grade per year; the quality of the educator and the offer correspond to the best in the world.

Luis said the education crisis facing South Africa will not be solved by building more physical schools and trying to endow them with human resources that are not available. Online education gives hope to thousands of children in South Africa who otherwise struggle to access quality education.

For more information visit www.ivaschool.online

Perry A. Thomasson