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Into the wild: Lenovo introduces virtual safaris for students at Henry Tyndale school

The pandemic has been the proverbial thorn in our side, upheaving any sort of semblance to normalcy in our lives. It has left no corner of the globe untouched, unleashing death and destruction in its wake. Economic activities have certainly taken a hit but there is one critical sector that has received the worst clobbering – education.

The situation has been dire, especially in the UK. When the island nation first entered lockdown last year, a majority of schools had to shut down. This left an often neglected section of the education system – schools for special-needs children – in the lurch. Remote learning option was not an option for these schools and a new medium had to be found.

Henry Tyndale, a Community Special School for students with learning disabilities, partnered with Lenovo to tackle the problem. Lenovo volunteers and virtual reality (VR) headsets came to the rescue, providing the students with an immersive, learning experience in a safe way.

The unique project was the brainchild of Kate FitzGerald, Lenovo Sales Operations Manager. Taking advantage of the company’s Global Month of Service last October, she visited the Henry Tyndale School along with six other employees. Armed with Lenovo Mirage VR S3 headsets, they set about transforming the learning experience of the school’s young minds.

The Wild Immersion app was paired with the Lenovo headsets, allowing the children to select from a wide range of virtual safaris in Africa, Asia and the Amazon. The overall response to the experience was one that melted the hearts of all present. “Some kids went straight in; others were a bit more sensitive,” FitzGerald said. “There were many shocked reactions to seeing the animals, but by the end of the session, most were pulling the headsets towards them to experience more. The smiles on their faces were incredible.”

It is true that the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of our systems but it has also inspired many individuals and organizations to step up and make a differences in the lives of others. Commenting on her small project, FitzGerald said, “For this Global Month of Service, I wanted to do something that required more hands-on involvement and maximized the capabilities of technology. Lenovo was very supportive, helping me to pool resources and acquire the most effective equipment for the school.”

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