Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool
The Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool is a downloadable resource for learning about life, tourism and sustainable living in Peru by travelling - virtually - to Machu Picchu Pueblo.
Image: Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool
The Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool is a downloadable interactive resource. The tool is designed for New Zealand school students (years 8 to 10) who are studying social studies, geography, tourism or environmental sustainability. This tool enables them to “travel” to a distant place, and discover another country and culture.
Sustainability and climate change are critical issues for the future of our planet, but they are hard to grasp from traditional classroom teaching. They also mostly affect communities in developing countries, which students can perceive as geographically and emotionally distant. Through this tool, students learn about the community of Machu Picchu Pueblo and the challenges that people face to maintain a sustainable way of living.
When they open the tool on their computer, students can explore digital replications of the town’s main square, laneways and recycling depot, and the hill overlooking the world famous - but heavily visited - archaeological site. By watching embedded videos, students learn about life in the town from 10 Peruvians, including the mayor, local government representatives, business owners, a tour guide, a busker, a porter and a fruit seller. The interviews cover people’s views on the positive and negative effects that tourism is having on the town, and their aspirations for the future.
This project began as a fully immersive virtual-reality experience. However, using virtual-reality headsets proved to be difficult in schools, so it was translated into a downloadable resource that can be used on classroom computers and Chromebooks. The tool’s website has information for teachers, including instructions on how to install and use the tool; a suggested sequence for working through the material; information about Peru, Machu Picchu and tourism; and transcripts for the interviews with local Peruvians.
The Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool is based on a virtual-reality learning tool developed about a remote Fiji island. In 2020, the project covering both these tools won the gold award in the sustainability category at the Wharton QS Reimagine Education Awards in London. More than 2000 New Zealand students are already using the tool, and it has also been downloaded by teachers in Australia, Vanuatu and Ecuador. Through the tool, students are gaining a better understanding of Latin America's people, culture and language. They can appreciate that the sustainability challenges Peru is experiencing are similar to those at home, and that countries need to come up with solutions together.
The Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool was developed by Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, and the mayor, local government and community of Machu Picchu Pueblo.
Published 02 November 2023
“It has been fantastic to see students in Aotearoa New Zealand connect with the people of Machu Picchu Pueblo through the learning tool. It has helped our students realise that the challenges facing parts of Peru are very similar to those faced by parts of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Launched in 2019 and relaunched as a desktop tool in 2022
Latin America Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence INSTITUTION PROFILE
Christian Schott, Andrea Milligan, Stephen Marshall, Jonathan Flutey, & Alan Proctor-Thomson. 2019. “Is That What It’s Really Like?” Innovative Technology for Situated Experiential Education. CORE uLearn Innovation and Inquiry Symposium 2019, October 2019, Rotorua, New Zealand.
Christian Schott, Andrea Milligan, Stephen Marshall, Jonathan Flutey, & Alan Proctor-Thomson. 2019. Virtual Reality for Environmental and Cultural Sustainability Education – A Pilot Project Enlisting VR for Situated Experiential Sustainability Education in Secondary Schools. ASCILITE 2019, 3-5 December 2019, Singapore.
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