Hugo, a 12th grade student at João Gonçalves Zarco School, 'travelled' more than 300 kilometres from Matosinhos, in the Porto district, to the Explora room, in Pavilhão do Conhecimento, in Lisbon, without having to leave the classroom.
Using virtual reality glasses and the 5G network, the young student, who 'guided' a robot with a 360-degree camera in Lisbon, interacted with a guide who made demonstrations and asked questions about scientific experiments, such as the convergence and divergence of light or meteorological phenomena.
This school, which has the most advanced mobile communications network for the development of pilot projects in the area of education, has signed a protocol between NOS and Ericsson to develop technological projects that “allow the school community to make the most of” the 5G network.
"We believe that with the introduction of 5G technology, we will be able to bring about a democratisation of education, in the sense that we can allow students to give in to almost any type of experience without any geographical or content access barriers", stressed the executive administrator of NOS, Manuel Ramalho Eanes.
The official was speaking to journalists after the signing of the protocol and inauguration of the first 5G school, which included, among others, the presence of the mayor of Matosinhos, Luísa Salgueiro.
Manuel Ramalho Eanes wants this technology to help make “content more appealing, more interesting and with more value” to “facilitate learning”.
“By working together with the school and Ericsson, we can come to a broader learning concept, with more quality and which also helps to motivate students more”, he said.
As examples, in addition to virtual study visits to "anywhere in the world", Manuel Ramalho Eanes also pointed out the study of the human body, through visualization in three dimensions, or augmented reality, noting that it is something that medical students need.
For the director of Escola João Gonçalves Zarco, José Ramos, it is with “pride” to be a pioneer in the educational project, although he does not know “very well what will happen”.
“We expect that the curricula of the various disciplines can be worked in a different way. It can be an excellent way for us to work in a classroom without being all together, whether students or teachers”, he stressed.
José Ramos recalled that everything in life is now "a click away" and that 5G "will effectively allow a classroom to be transplanted to any part of the world" and "enable students to experience situations that help them to incorporate knowledge more easily".
Even so, the director of the Matosinhense school, which teaches around 1,800 students in the third cycle, secondary and adults, said that the use of the means now available will depend on the “boldness” and “ability of teachers to use them”.
“Nowadays we have interactive whiteboards in the various classrooms and not everyone uses them. Not everyone wanted to risk leaving the chalkboard or pen to move to a different board”, he said.
“The expectation I have is that technology will effectively allow us to see the teaching process in a different way, with lenses that we do not have at this moment”, he concluded.