Virtual field trip project clinched Bronze accolade at QS Reimagine Education Awards

Roots to Reefs 360, a virtual field trip project jointly developed by Dr Gretchen Coffman, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Geography at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Digital Strategy and Innovation (DSI) team from NUS Libraries, has won a Bronze at the 2023 QS Reimagine Education Awards under the Immersive Experiential Learning category. Considered by many as the “Oscars” of the education world, this prestigious global competition recognises and honours innovative approaches to enhance learning outcomes and improve employability, helping to shape the future of education.

As the name suggests, Roots to Reefs 360 takes participants on a virtual field trip, transporting them into an immersive 360-degree experience around the unique tropical ecosystems of Southeast Asia. This helps to deepen understanding of the biodiversity of tropical ecosystems, their vulnerabilities, and the importance of community-based conservation and ecosystem restoration. The project originated from a desire to improve access to educational field studies amidst the limitations posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was recognised for showcasing the potential impact of 360-degree films in enhancing collaborative learning experiences in the NUS Libraries’ 360imx, a six-metre-wide cylindrical theatrette that enables the viewing of immersive 360-degree visuals and surround sound without using Virtual Reality headsets.

“I am so proud of our team for their tireless work on this project and collaborating so effectively to harness this new educational technology,” said Dr Coffman. “This success inspires me to keep making 360 films and inspire more NUS students and communities around the region to care about conservation!”

Cluster Head for the DSI team, Dr Magdeline Ng agrees, “This is a great validation of NUS Libraries’ role in catalysing educational innovations. We aspire to transform the role of the library to be more than just a repository for books and information, and really serve as a focal point for interdisciplinary learning and dialogue.”

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