The Spark Arts for Children to work in an exciting new arena with ambitious POP UP PLAY project

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014 13:22

The Spark Arts for Children to work in an exciting new arena with ambitious POP UP PLAY project

Pop Up Play started as an idea at last year's Spark Festival, which featured Luke's innovative digital show Book of Worlds. Dr Craig Vear, Head of the Performance Research Group at De Montfort University has been instrumental in developing the project, which will look at how immersive digital technology can create learning opportunities for young people to enhance their creativity, language and communication skills.

The Spark is delighted to also be working with Mellor Primary School, Leicester on this project. In June, a group of pupils from Year 4, who are studying Michael Morpurgo's Warhorse, will use immersive digital technology in their learning of the text. Digital technology will be used to project trenches and battlefields, and pupils will be able to stand next to a digital reproduction of the horse itself. In doing so, children can become fully immersed into the book, which will help and support them in ideas development and how they emotionally relate to the story.

Adel Al-Salloum, Director at The Spark Arts for Children said: 'This is a wonderful opportunity for The Spark, as an advocate of the rights of young people, to be involved in such a dynamic and innovative research project which will help to shape how children learn. We live in a digital age and over the next year we will work closely with schools, libraries and arts organisations to see how immersive digital technology can stimulate learning for children and young people.'

Karen Hammond, Head Teacher at Mellor Primary School said: "I am both interested and excited to see how this type of immersive digital technology may enhance children's learning, overall enjoyment and understanding of a book."


Dr Craig Vear, Head of Performance Research Group said:Mixed reality is an immensely powerful tool in the right hands: imagine being able to transport a child into the imaginary realms that books create in our minds, to let them explore and experience, feel and create. We aim to bring new ideas and a rigorous framework into the engagement with creative play and mixed reality, and to maximise the potential of meaningful learning.

The project will also be tested in Three Ways School, Bath and in a number of libraries, museums and arts organisations across the UK. Immersive learning environments such as Pop Up Play do already exist, but at great expense requiring technical know-how and controlled environments. This project will create a package that is open source, flexible, and maximizes engagement for teachers, arts practitioners, librarians and other educational professionals. It will do so in the following ways:

  • The system utilises technology that is already available in the home, classroom or library, such as laptops, home gaming and webcams.
  • The system will be packaged together with a full support programme.
  • Pop Up Play's creative-cognition framework will facilitate an acute experience for participants.

Tags: Spark Arts for Children, NESTA, DMU, Look Woodbury, Mellor Primary School, Digital Immersive Technology