Together with the IT Ukraine Association, UNICEF has created the world’s first VR product to educate Ukrainian children about explosive ordnance and promote safe practices. This month, in areas polluted with explosives, UNICEF will launch a new device during the school’s risk-education program with the Italian and German government’s support.
Training sessions will help the children connect the knowledge they receive at the conventional lessons entertainingly. The VR training will cover areas affected by the conflict and Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, and Dnipro regions that host ammunition depots and IDPs. Virtual reality technology has been developed to teach users in an entertaining form the rules of safe conduct with explosive objects. The device is designed especially for three target groups: primary, secondary, and high school students, as well as for teachers and parents. At the beginning and end of the virtual reality experience, students take a specific test to measures how informative and valuable the virtual reality product has been.
IT Ukraine Association and UNICEF developed the project in association with:
- a family and child psychologist
- technical expertise engaged from the HALO Trust
MacPaw and WeAR Studio are the technical partners of the program. WeAR Studio has produced the virtual reality software, and MacPaw has provided the virtual reality headsets.
“Since the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine that is approaching its sad seven-year anniversary, 186 children have died or been injured by mines and explosive ordnance. UNICEF and its partners are continuing risk education about explosive ordnance for children. At the same time, it remains challenging for us to find formats that will be of interest to modern children, and how we get the vital message across to children. Virtual reality is becoming the latest technology that helps shape children’s behavior through entertainment and consolidates the knowledge gained during lessons. We look forward to developing the partnership with IT Ukraine Association, as this could be crucial for the well-being of children and their families in a ‘new’ emerging reality that has faced not only conflicts but also the pandemic challenges.” – Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.
More than 70 users from Donetsk and Luhansk regions took part in testing the virtual reality product. The testing program involved parents, school students, and teachers.
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