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BMW Group launches free 'Virtual Lab' education app

BMW's first educational app, the 'Virtual Lab' will teach pupils about sustainability

Posted by Lucinda Reid | May 07, 2017 | Technology

The BMW Group has created new digital learning resources to help teachers bring a hands-on and smarter approach to sustainability and road safety lessons. The ‘Virtual Lab’, a free BMW Group app, includes curriculum linked lessons to show pupils how sustainability and design ideas like upcycling can help reduce carbon footprints. Created in cooperation with the Birmingham Science Centre, it is the first educational app to be launched by the BMW Group and is now available to register for download.

The updated BMW Group Education programme, features new 3D characters guiding pupils through road safety scenarios in ‘Safe on the Streets’ while a futuristic ‘i-City’ has been developed for pupils to explore in the ‘Intelligent Living’ resource.

Education is vital to building a sustainable future, and we are passionate about how digital apps can be used in the classroom to bring these subjects to life - Graham Biggs, Communications Director for BMW Group UK

“Education is vital to building a sustainable future, and we are passionate about how digital apps can be used in the classroom to bring these subjects to life," said Graham Biggs, Communications Director for BMW Group UK. “We want students to gain a better understanding of future mobility and encourage them to look for imaginative solutions to some of the challenges society is facing.”

Designed for use by pupils aged 11-14 years, the ‘Virtual Lab’ app consists of two theme paths focussed on design and sustainability and both can be played at school and at home. Each path contains four interactive games, together with explanatory videos and texts, and takes around 50 minutes to complete. The aim of these real world challenges is to give young people the ability to apply sustainability principles to the world around them, whether sorting objects for recycling at home or understanding how manufacturers can use renewable alternative energy sources.

Teachers can follow sustainability and design ‘learning pathways’ aligned with the UK Physics, Chemistry and Design Technology curriculums, with short animations to explain concepts and additional student challenges like creating a wallet by upcycling a milk carton. The Virtual Lab also provides additional teaching material including worksheets, puzzles and discussion topics. 

The launch of the new, curriculum linked education programme continues the BMW Group’s legacy of providing free and accessible education to young people, with a focus on its expertise in road safety and sustainability. ‘Safe on the Streets’, the company’s flagship road safety education programme equips pupils aged 7-11 years to make safer every day decisions when walking or cycling on roads, or travelling in the car.

‘Intelligent Living’ (i-Living) helps pupils aged 11-16 years understand the sustainability and mobility challenges facing our future by investigating issues like global development, urbanisation and energy use. i-Living helps pupils understand how applications of science, design and technology can help to limit the impact on the environment.

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