On Friday 9th November, two year 9 classes found themselves in a World War One trench about to attack, thanks to a Virtual Reality experience provided by a local Wilnecote company, DevClever. The experience immersed the students in the First World War for 3 minutes. Students started in a dugout before walking out into the trench and then “going over the top” into No Man’s Land, accompanied by the sights and sounds of exploding shells and planes overhead. The experience tied in with Remembrance Sunday and the Centenary of the end of World War One, which had also been the theme of assemblies that week. It also tied in with the GCSE unit being studied by the classes on “The Historic Environment of the the British Sector of the Western Front”, allowing students not only to empathise with what soldiers went through but also to compare what was shown in the VR experience with what they had already learnt about the trenches from other sources. Some of the comments from the students as they were actually involved in the experience were…
“It’s weird…. I feel like I’m actually there, walking in a trench, even though I know I’m not.”
“I’m on top of the ladder… what if I die?”
“Where am I going? I don’t want to go out into No Man’s Land.”
“Oh my God…there’s dead bodies.”
“I nearly got shot”.
It was clear from the follow up lesson that the experience had really made the students think about what trench warfare must have been like.