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Greetings from Electrician’s Team

    Dear reader, as promised, I would here give you my view of what I have learned during the last two years with the VRinVET -project. This will be my words only, but will probably cover more of the participant in the project.
    Before I started as a teacher back in 2019, I have been working in construction for many years as an electrician. So just a year and a half my after my start as a teacher, I was asked to join.

    When I was asked to join the project, I had absolutely no idea of how the virtual-world worked, never tried it before. Also at our first online meeting in spring 2021, I had a hard time figuring out how to get in to the Altspace.

    After some practice with Altspace on PC and on the Oculus VR-glasses, I have gotten familiar with using Altspace on both platforms before our first meeting in Finland. As I remember, didn’t the electrician group meet online before we met in Finland?

    A bit awkward to see all live for the first time after only having met a few times online before. Those images you have of other people from only meeting online, were they the right ones? During the corona lock-down, I have met many new people only online, and I am glad to say, that meeting in real life is still the best.

    Some very good and busy days at Keuda. My first trip to Finland, and surely, it will not be my last one. Our meetings were good organized, with a good mix of work and social activities. So as I could see it, it was one of the reasons, all the groups had a good start. The introduction to Glue, 360 camera and Matterport, was also a big help.

    No secret that the electrician group was not the group with the best IT skills. But now when we have met each other, we have a platform to start from.

    In December 2021 and January/February 2022, we had our most productive time. We had some help from Stine, Iina and you late November, as I recall. After that, the three of us met online (Alessandro, Onno and I) nearly once a week. We tried Altspace, Glue and the 360 camera. During the test of different environment, we chose Glue. For us it was the easiest to use. To show pictures and small videos combined with blackboards was the tools to use in Glue. Our first pilot was with two of Onno’s students, and the next two pilots was with students from Italy, Holland and Denmark. They all went good, not that there was much learning about electricity, but more about meeting in the VR-world, and good to see that the students actually tried to talk to each other in English.

    We had problems, and bad internet was the biggest of them. Only the students from Noorderport were able to stay online, during each pilot. Italy and Denmark were both lacking when we held the sessions, but with a little patience, we ended up with some good pilots.  

    At our meeting in Groningen, we all had to show what we had been doing since Finland, and I think we in the electrician group had developed our skills a lot. It was especially nice to meet the two Dutch students, who had been part of the pilots. 

    It was also clear to me, that we all now worked together as one group. Not just our group, but all the groups. A very friendly atmosphere, that were nice to be a part of. Also some very well planned days in Groningen. 

    In the period between Groningen and Ancona, it was hard to find time to meet online again, I was very busy with graduating my own students before summer, and I guess the same goes for Alessandro and Onno. After summer break we could not find time as well, different reason made it impossible.

    So good to see you all again, in Ancona, in this beautiful surroundings.

    At the summary in Ancona, it looked to me, that we had all started to move in different directions, for the electricians. Basically that’s good, it means we are heading towards daily teaching where we can use this VR in our classroom.

    The tutorials for putting stuff/pictures in to Altspace was good, as well as the planning of the meetings was good.

    Beside the pilots, I have not used the Oculus with students, and will probably not have my “own” students again before fall 2023. I will hopefully have learned more about VR before next summer, so it can be part of the classroom.

    There have been many positive impressions throughout this project, firstly it has been a good experience to get to know all the participants in the project. I will miss working with you all after the end of the project.

    Through this project, I have been pretty much on my own, on the Danish side, so it has been learning by doing. For a start, I did not know we had our own department working with VR. But after realizing this, they have been a good assistance and help with the 360 and Matterport cameras.

    Besides getting acquainted with the VR-world, it has been very interesting to learn what other countries connects the title electrician with. Finland and Denmark look pretty much the same, where Holland have a more cross-over to other skills. And Italy has a whole third angle to it.

    And with the free movement of labor in EU, it has been one of my best professional angles to tell my apprentices about what to expect if they will work abroad, or work with other nationalities here in Denmark.

    I don’t use that much English in my daily life, so to communicate with fellow electricians/teachers, both face to face and on various types of platforms in English, has been a very good experience. And a thing I can take with me from this project.

    Since Ancona, Onno, Alessandro and I have met once, to discuss what to do next. So in December22 we will meet online and plan what to do together in the future, also after the end of the project.

    I would like to stay in the project as long as possible, even though my school currently has organizational changes and I don’t yet know who is the project-manager from the Danish side.

    All the best, Erik

    by Erik Jakobsen, teacher (electricians), TEC, Denmark

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