A SOUTH Yorkshire entrepreneur is hoping to persuade schools across the UK to take a virtual leap into a unique 3D environment that could revolutionise the relationship between teachers, pupils and their parents.
Joe York, from North Anston, has developed Our3DSpace, a suite of educational software that allows teachers to cover large areas of the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum for literacy, mathematics, computing and design and technology.
The virtual nature of the 3D environment stimulates children’s creativity and allows for unprecedented interaction with parents, who can view the work being done in the classroom from anywhere in the world via their mobile phone, tablet or PC.
The concept for Our3DSpace has grown from a 3D gallery developed by Mr York for use by artists, which his fiancee, Stephanie Seymour, a former primary school teacher, felt was ideal for use in schools.
“The interactive nature of Our3DSpace has the ability to revolutionise how parents connect with what goes on in the classroom,” said Mr York.
“Virtual 3D offers unlimited potential for schools but many software packages are not very user-friendly: the simplicity and flexibility of Our3DSpace addresses many of those issues.”
The system allows individual pupils to log in to their own account and build a three-dimensional room, adding furniture, themes and decor based on school projects and coursework.
Teachers can purchase individual 3D spaces or bundles of five spaces for £699, but the most cost effective route for schools is a unlimited space package costing £1,000, which features lesson plans and full technical support.
“If a class goes on a school trip, children can upload photographs and documents about their experiences to their own space, as well as sharing content via their teacher,” explained Mr York.
“Our main aim is to connect schools, students and parents through creativity and offer something that sparks imagination, is fun to create and is completely different.
“We hope it encourages children to be more interested in art, engages parents and brings schools and their local community closer together.”
Although focused largely on Key Stages 1 and 2, Our3DSpace can also be utilised in key Stage 3 art and design, and design and technology, as well as allowing students to showcase their work in presentations to secure places on further and higher education courses.
A former commercial photographer in Dinnington, Mr York and his three-strong team have been developing Our3DSpace since August
“We’ve done an enormous amount of work to get to where we are now, it’s taken over our lives but we are now ready to launch,” he said.
Our3DSpace will be launched on Saturday at TEDxNorwichED, a technology, entertainment and design conference which will focus on “thinking differently” about the education sector.
Over 400 people, including 150 headteachers and school leaders, have already confirmed their attendance at the conference, and Mr York is hoping to have the opportunity to demo his gallery to potential investors.
“It’s taken a significant investment on my own part and it would be good to meet people who might interested in becoming involved,” he added.
“After just three versions the feedback we are getting from teachers is fantastic. It’s very exciting.”