Immersive smart classroom is a first for Victorian public school sector

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The launch of a Lumination Learning Lab at Lyndale Secondary College in Melbourne’s south-east signals the first time a Victorian government school will incorporate an immersive smart classroom into its educational offering.

Unveiling the state-of-the-art classroom – aimed at increasing student learning outcomes – kicked off with speeches from the school’s Principal Pam Robinson, and Minister for Government Services, Minister for Consumer Affairs, and the Minister for Public and Active Transport Gabrielle Williams, as well as former teacher Campbell Rushton-Smith from Lumination, the tech company leading the innovation.

“As we embark on this journey into the future of education, we will be embracing our new cutting-edge classroom – not as a replacement for our teachers, but as a powerful tool to enhance our impact, where we can empower our students to not only deal with the challenges of today but to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow,” Ms Robinson said.

For the students chosen to show the event attendees the wonders of augmented reality-driven education, it was a show-and-tell that highlighted the power of virtual reality and its unique support of the Australian Curriculum – with students able to (virtually) travel the world, dissect a frog, explore a space station…and much more.

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Lumination Learning Labs utilise technology for experiential learning – and their design of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) software enables educators to revolutionise the way they teach. From humble beginnings in a garage in the bayside Adelaide suburb of Semaphore, the company has taken its goal of disrupting one of the oldest practices in history — the conventional classroom – to more than two million customers and is rapidly expanding into the defence, government, and enterprise sectors.

Although Lyndale Secondary College is Victoria’s first public school to welcome Lumination’s smart classroom, there are three other labs in the state – at Girton Grammar in regional Bendigo, and Catholic schools (St Francis Melton and Catholic Ladies College) in Melbourne.

Building sustainable cities with immersive technology

The South Australian schools featured as case studies on the Lumination website offer a sense of the possibilities the Lyndale Secondary College students are about to realise – with access to unique tech that can enhance a range of lessons, including boosting student empathy levels and creating greater engagement in geography.

At Adelaide’s Kidman Park Primary School (KPPS), access to their own immersive smart classroom helped students build cities of the future.

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With more than half of the world’s population living in cities today – a figure expected to increase to 70 per cent by 2050 (UN Sustainable Development Goals) – today’s students will play an important role in creating safe, sustainable, and inclusive cities.

Read more: Secondary students use virtual reality to increase empathy levels

The immersive technologies of the custom-created Virtual Reality (VR) project invited students to think about what future they wanted for their city. Students then explored ways to contribute to a better environment in that future by understanding how a well-planned city or town can be built to be both sustainable and resilient.

Sustainable Futures is one of many incursion programs with direct links to the Australian Curriculum. Using the school’s Lumination Learning Lab and powered by the LeadMe software, the program brings virtual reality to the classroom to create an environment in which the students bring sustainable cities to life – and imagine the potential that unique design offers.

LeadMe software powering the lab

To support the educators tasked with the role of helping students discover the virtual universe the lab puts at their fingertips, each smart classroom is driven by the purpose-designed LeadMe software that helps teachers connect to the necessary immersive technology devices, control the environment for optimal immersive learning and access virtual reality (VR) experiences. The software includes automated pre-sets for lighting, AV equipment, blinds, and other aspects of the school’s classroom, to help transition quickly to the VR learning environment.

Students can work through the same experiences simultaneously or the teacher can control multiple experiences at once. Teachers can also enable the application to differentiate the lesson for individual learners.

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“Virtual reality is a way to engage students of all different learning styles and cater to all learning needs, because it is so immersive and engaging,” Lumination Learning Designer and registered teacher Naomi Guglielmo told EducationDaily.

Putting knowledge at students’ fingertips

For KPPS Year five/six teacher Patrick Carroll, the software “allows us (the teacher) to control all the different elements of the (virtual reality) room – it’s a great way for us to have all the help we need at the push of a button”.

After their Lumination Learning Lab was handed over in March this year, KPPS began their twelve months of education support with Ms Guglielmo, which included 24 hours of professional development for teachers, student incursions, curriculum planning sessions, regular check-ins each term and ad hoc support for lesson planning throughout the school term.

Lyndale students look forward to an exciting educational future

As the Lyndale Secondary College students help the launch event attendees strap on the headsets and controls that will give them a taste of what will soon be part of regular classes at the school, a teenage boy grins as he is asked if he is excited about the new lab.

“It’s going to be amazing,” he says.

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For Lumination’s Mr Rushton-Smith, it’s a level of enthusiasm that the company has already seen in schools across the country – with the roll-out of more learning labs to be announced soon. The technology, he says, is here to stay for students of today – and tomorrow – and enabling them to experience how it can benefit their understanding of the world is something he is proud to be a part of.

“The lab empowers students to put theory into practice – enabling them to develop multiple creative and problem-solving skills to ensure they have equitable opportunities in the future workplace,” Mr Rushton-Smith said.

“With Dandenong being a manufacturing and transport hub, we are really excited about the plethora of opportunities for Lyndale to utilise this lab in partnership with local industry and assist in solving their real-world problems.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]