UCLan Cyprus: Enhancing physical education through virtual reality: the actions of the Erasmus+ Sport project VIBES

VIBES is an innovative Erasmus+ Sport project that aims to train Physical Education (PE) teachers in the use and deployment of virtual reality-VR technologies in PE classrooms and in the design of learning experiences using VR, in order to broaden the use of virtual reality in schools to promote physical activity and sport, to increase students’ interest and motivation to engage in physical activity and sport in and out of school, thus reducing the risk of physical inactivity, and to improve the quality of physical activity and sport.

The project is funded by the Erasmus+ Sport programme (project number: 101133143) and the consortium is composed of the following partners: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), University of Central Lancashire Cyprus (Cyprus), Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal), INQUIRIUM LTD (Cyprus) and University Sports Center of Palermo (Italy). The International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) is also involved as a supporting partner. The total duration of the project is 30 months.

The aim of VIBES is to enhance the delivery of PE lessons in schools by training PE teachers in the use and exploitation of virtual reality (VR) in their classrooms, following appropriate classroom orchestrations and pedagogical approaches. In general, the project aims to raise awareness of the potential of virtual reality in physical education and sport and the need to create the necessary mechanisms to modernise education to promote healthy lifestyles for all.

Recent research findings have already shown that VR exergaming may be a promising avenue for engaging adolescents with physical activity and mental health. The suitability of VR technologies for use in PE lessons has also been highlighted, both for teaching key PE concepts and for increasing students’ physical activity. This is because students can use these technologies to gain experiences of movement and engagement in new sports through virtual reality. Such learning environments represent an opportunity to persuade young people with low physical activity and high levels of sedentary behaviour to be more active. In fact, virtual reality and digital technologies can be the key to adopting a lifelong physically active lifestyle. As physical activity has a significant impact on the physical and mental health of individuals, promoting it and through virtual reality can now make a significant contribution to promoting health and well-being. The introduction of virtual reality in schools also offers an excellent opportunity to reach students from all social and cultural backgrounds, opening up new horizons for promoting inclusion in physical education classrooms. Through the use of VR, students from different social, cultural, and educational backgrounds can participate in interactive and tailored activities that meet their individual needs and abilities. Virtual reality enables educators to create inclusive learning environments where all students, regardless of their physical or social limitations, can actively engage, collaborate, and develop their skills. This helps remove barriers to participation and encourages equitable access to physical education and sport for all students.

The kick-off meeting of the project took place in Brussels between 15 and 16 February 2024, with the participation of all consortium partners. The meeting brought together all consortium partners, providing a valuable platform for in-depth discussions on strategic planning and coordination of upcoming project activities. The agenda was enriched with interesting social activities, including a virtual reality engagement experience in the VR Box housed at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

For more information you can visit the project website at: https://vibes-sports.eu/ as well as the social media sites  FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Source: UCLan Cyprus | Latest news (https://shorturl.at/poLb9)