Since the majority of Kenyan students lack experience in swimming, snorkeling or diving for varied reasons, it sometimes seems hard for them to get an impression of the underwater environment. Therefore, REEFolution aims to provide a virtual reality experience for these students to visually discover what our reef restoration project is about - underwater. In a virtual tour that consists of a series of 360-degrees videos viewers can, for instance, witness the process of collecting coral fragments, maintaining nurseries, and outplanting coral to artificial reefs.
During the virtual tour, there will be interactive learning activities, audio fragments and questions which help the viewer to actively master the content. In a broader perspective, the VR-experience focuses on human activity and impact on coral reef systems, like fishery, pollution and tourism. We expect students to be more engaged by entering this virtual underwater world and become enthusiastic to learn more about the underwater environment either from theory or real-life experience.
The virtual tour can be experienced by people of all ages, but we want to focus on Kenyan students and school children from the age of ten. Targeting of school-going children has been shown to have an impact on influencing adult knowledge and household behaviour. These children can be a motivation for their parents to become more responsibly towards their environment and the positive role they can play in it.
All learning goals will be addressed in different stages of the virtual tour. The viewer can be sitting on a fishing vessel and witnessing how fishermen drop their fishing traps in the water and how they sustainably fish by hand lines. On the contrary the negative impact of the use of fishing nets can be addressed when the viewer is virtually taken under water to see how a large net is entangled with the corals on the reef.
At this very moment of writing, the VR-experience is still in early development. The first staged recordings do look very promising. For example, in one 360-degrees video viewers can witness the process of collecting coral fragments, maintaining nurseries, and outplanting corals onto artificial reefs. The goal of the VR-experience is to visit primary and secondary schools at the south-east coast of Kenya to educate and provide an unforgettable experience. We would like to see the children dive virtually into the ocean, swim with dolphins and turtles and learn about how to protect the beautiful coral reefs.
The VR-Experience has been sponsored by the Dutch Flower Group.
Written by Guido Paap (12-10-2020)