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The product

The Immersive Learning Center at Centennial is an 8 x 7m three-walled immersive room equipped with an array of six 5,000 lumen projectors and 5.1 surround sound.

The ultra-short throw lenses allow students and teachers to get close to the canvas without casting a shadow, creating an ideal experience for classes where students are moving around and engaging with content projected in the space. 

The system is powered by an IMP II (Igloo Immersive Media Player) media player and is controlled from either an in-room PC or a tablet computer. The control center allows teachers to easily navigate between their presentations, 360° content, YouTube 360°, Matterport, and Google Street View, all from inside the room.

The result

The ILC is popular with staff and students, and Centennial School is making daily use of the system, both as a space for teaching students and providing training to the teachers learning best practices in education. Graduate and undergraduate students from select classes at Lehigh University also experience content in the ILC as part of their coursework. 

Immersive learning

Staff use Igloo’s flexible software to display a range of content types in the ILC, including 360° video and images, presentations, web content, YouTube 360°, Matterport, Blockade Labs and Google Street View.

Students are free to move around the room and engage with the entire display. Using Google Slides teachers have developed a method of slowly revealing new content around the room to retain student attention. Students also present content to their peers.

Field trips and background context

Teachers find that 360° videos and images provide excellent background context for topics being taught in class. Centennial’s director Dr Julie Fogt explains, “allowing students to be immersed in something here in the ILC is a little bit closer to real life than simply reading a book or showing them a picture”.

It’s great for virtual field trips to settings such as a farm, mountaintop or zoo, which might otherwise be inaccessible. Teachers can also capture 360° content of field trip locations and have found that exposing students virtually to an environment in advance of a physical visit can help to them to have a more positive field trip experience.

Physical education

The ILC is used for immersive relaxation and yoga. Marc Corsi, who taught physical education (PE) at Centennial, found that the ILC can have a calming effect on students, particularly after a high-energy PE session. Students also participate in meditation videos between academic classes.

Teacher training

Centennial School teachers who are studying special education use the ILC as a debriefing space. Classes are filmed using a 360° camera and this content can then be watched inside the Igloo to review classroom management strategies and re-watch the footage for additional training opportunities.

Teachers also have the opportunity to participate in the ILC Ambassadors program, learning the components and best practices of the Igloo system to facilitate running the space independently.

Going forward

Centennial is continuing to develop their immersive education offering and have recently been using generative AI with Blockade Labs to experiment with immersive storytelling inside the Igloo.

Students at Lehigh University under the guidance of Dr. Julie Fogt and Dr. Sara Heintzelman are collaborating on an exciting project called Open Doors to the Arts. The project combines Matterport with 360° videos and images to create immersive tours which Centennial students can view inside the ILC, with the aim of making the university's art collections accessible to students with disabilities.

"What makes me most proud that we have an igloo system in our school [is that] we know that when our students are engaged, they want to come to school. When they want to come to school, they’re learning, they’re invested in the process, and that’s exactly the kind of learning environment that we want to create for them."

Dr. Sara Heintzelman: Technology Integrations Specialist

"I would advocate that every student needs an ILC in their building."

Dr. Julie Fogt: Director of Centennial School

"When we have visitors from around the world come to our school and ask us, ‘why do you have this space?’, it’s an easy answer for us. It’s because we want to engage our students in their learning. We want to take them to places that otherwise wouldn’t be possible." 

Dr. Sara Heintzelman: Technology Integrations Specialist