Children from more than 180,000 Chinese households recently went on a group tour of ten of the worlds greatest museums, without leaving home.
The museums included the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the German Historical Museum in Berlin.
The “tours” were virtual reality visits, live-streamed with commentary from Chinese academics, organised by the Aha School, an education start-up based in Shanghai. The two-hour daily broadcasts cost each family less than US$3.
Pan Lisheng, the director of the virtual museums project for Aha School and a former television journalist, said she recruited a team of nearly 50 people to design graphics, travel to the 10 museums, comment on artworks and science exhibitions, and stitch all the material into a two-hour daily broadcast.
The students benefitting were mainly from rural areas, where access to any kind of museum was difficult. A teacher in a rural school in Sichuan Province said that many cannot even travel to nearby towns.
Live-streaming technology is already widely popular on Chinese social media platforms. The project, “100,000 Kids Touring 10 Museums”, shows how it could help improve long-distance education in China.
The Aha School is donating the broadcast feed to 174 rural classrooms as a public service.