Rising Star awarded to St Margaret’s teacher for innovative use of VR in the classroom

Jane Martens, Visual Arts teacher at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School in Ascot, has been announced as the winner of a prestigious national Rising Star award by The Educator.

Feb 26, 2021, updated Feb 26, 2021

The award recognises emerging leaders in education who have made waves in the early stages of their career and showcases their achievements, innovations and industry contributions on a national platform.

Martens put the A in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) by emphasising the Arts – the “A” in STEAM education.

In doing so, she has provided St Margaret’s Visual Art students with opportunities to engage with cutting-edge technologies to create virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) artworks.

Martens said the integration of the Arts within STEM disciplines encourages creative approaches to the solution of complex problems.

Jane Marten, Visual Arts teacher at St Margarets’ Anglican Girls School

“In our ever-changing world, the ability to think creatively and critically is the foundation for innovation and so, to enable and encourage our students to thrive in a world full of advancements yet to be conceived, we need to equip our students to become innovators,” she said.

Martens has prepared her students for the jobs of the future and possible vocations students might not yet have imagined.

“There are many cross-curricular applications using these technologies and there is a real future in the workplace for students who have these skills.

“A career path using these technologies will be a lot more common in the future with applications in a range of areas from design, science, ICT and more,” she said.

This is the second award for Martens whose adoption of new technologies in the curriculum also formed part of St Margaret’s winning entry into The Educator’s Innovation Awards last year.

Digital Art Club at St Margarets

VR technology allowed the girls to experience a different dimension of reality.

Under Jane Martens’ tutelage they learned to combine drawing, painting and sculptural skills to create immersive, three-dimensional artworks within virtual spaces.

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They designed and constructed environments and alternate worlds that viewers can walk through and physically experience using the VR headsets.

The tool was used to enhance the girls’ spatial awareness, 3D modelling and mapping skills, and ability to formulate solutions to creative problems.

Augmented Reality (AR) Technology

In learning with AR technology, the students created their own two-dimensional artwork which was activated as a base image, adding an animated element or a moving image element to a 2D image, often accompanied by sound.

Viewers could scan the camera of a laptop or iPad over this two-dimensional artwork to activate and view moving graphics and animations, through their screen.

St Margaret’s Principal Ros Curtis congratulated Jane on her innovation in the classroom.

“Jane is a committed and passionate educator who has embraced opportunities to provide innovative learning experiences through the integration of digital technologies and visual art which not only inspire and engage students but prepare them for the future workforce,” Ms Curtis said.

To find out more about a St Margaret’s education, visit the school’s Open Day on Saturday 6 March.

Click here to learn more.

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