Virtual reality helps Mackie’s go global

Pupils in Indiana use the Google Expeditions technology to visit the Mackie's  farm at Westertown
Pupils in Indiana use the Google Expeditions technology to visit the Mackie's farm at Westertown

Pupils in America have been using virtual reality technology to visit Mackie’s of Scotland’s farm at Westertown.

Using the immersive ‘Google Expeditions’ app, kindergarten students in Indianapolis have been filmed learning about the north east farm - from 3,700 miles across the Atlantic.

The virtual reality technology allows pupils to explore and learn about the production of Mackie’s ice cream and chocolate in its factories – as well as learn about the farm’s use of renewable energy.

Robbie Grimes, Google Certified Educator based in Brownsburg, Indiana, alerted the team at Mackie’s to its global reach by tweeting praise for its approach to renewables.

He said: “I’ve used the expedition with students for several years now and it’s always very popular.

“Our students are from the inner-city and don’t typically get the chance to visit a farm and see how some of their favourite foods are made.

“The ice cream expedition is used a lot with younger classes but I have used the Mackie’s renewable energy one with older students and both are equally successful with the kids.

“I love what Mackie’s is doing – I love that they are giving kids the opportunity to learn about where their food comes from as many of them have no idea that it doesn’t just appear in the grocery store.”

Launched in 2015, Google Expeditions allows teachers to take learning outside of the classroom, using technology to take children on virtual field trips.

Partnering with Twig World, a Google Expeditions content creator, Mackie’s have released three expeditions showcasing both ice cream and chocolate production, as well as the windfarm and solar panels which power the farm.

The expeditions are available to view worldwide, enabling teachers to use the informative resources as part of the wider curriculum.

Karin Hayhow, Marketing Director at Mackie’s, said: “It’s funny to think that children on the other side of the world are ‘walking’ around our Mackie’s farm.

“Giving children a greater understanding of where their food comes from is very important and so it’s great to know that we’re helping that become a key part of young people’s education across the world.”