School Children Practice Foreign Languages with VR

ImmerseMe app allows students to study real language scenarios using VR.

As most people who have studies a foreign language will know, it is much easier to become fluent when immersed in the culture and hearing the language all around you. Various language courses try to replicate the effect, not always successfully. When immersion is involved, however, virtual reality (VR) might be the solution.

The developer of ImmerseMe, Scott Cardwell recognised the advantage of cultural immersion whilst practising his language skills during travel through Europe. It was a realisation that something to help practise simple scenarios in a more immersive and realistic fashion might be beneficial for studying languages. To his surprise, he discovered that no one else had created a product that combined VR with language studies.

Cardwell and his ImmerseMe co-founder Jeremy Hanff began development of the project by travelling across Europe and Asia with a 360-degree camera, capturing various different scenarios using real people, such as ordering coffee in a restaurant in Germany, or buying a loaf of bread in Paris.

Once development was complete, the product was officially launched and presented to students of the Nelson College for Girls for Beta testing. The students were positive about the impact it had on their studies, with student Rhona Aran saying: “You can kind of put yourself in the situation where you’re in France, and you need to buy a loaf of bread.”

ImmerseMe was launched with English, French, Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, Indonesian and Greek as the available languages, though the company is looking at adding more languages over the next couple of years.

At the moment, students and travellers can go to the ImmerseMe website to practice various scenarios in 2D format, with full VR commercial compatibility looking to be launched soon.

VRFocus will continue to report on VR use in education and training.

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