Virtual reality unlocking educational doors for inmates

  • Virtual reality is being brought to Otago prison in order to help inmates learn to read while they fix cars.
  • It is understood that nearly 65 percent of people in prison do need help with literacy as well as numeracy.
  • The focus is on rehabilitating these inmates.
  • Animation and virtual reality are made use of to help inmates learn by building a virtual environment whereby one places the headset on, and one is standing in the street and there is a garage across the road.
  • One has to read certain signs and things on there and learn things in order to get the doors open.
  • When one is inside, one then is in a garage and one has to study.
  • Every six weeks or so, the VR is rather taken to Otago prison, where 12 inmates act as consultants who test it out and give feedback on its development.
  • It is indeed interesting to teach in prison. The inmates will definitely benefit and are fruitfully occupied.
  • Several inmates are dyslexic and also find it difficult to engage in traditional ‘pen and paper’ learning.
  • More workbooks and more textbooks do indeed make much of an impact on efforts to educate prison inmates.
  • The project is indeed being privately funded, with Hawke’s Bay iwi Ngāti Kahungunu committing to investing at least $2 million.
  • Rūnanga chair Ngahiwi Tomoana actually said being illiterate can also lead to a downhill spiral for people.
  • Numeracy and literacy can be a handbrake on Māori development.
  • The effort is on to take advantage of this new technological revolution that will not only help the people in prison but could also help numeracy as well as literacy right through Kura.
  • Intensive literacy and numeracy support were received by 1443 inmates from 2016 to 2017.
  • This is indeed a new tool worth making use of.
  • As soon as one puts the headset one is a workshop and there is a car in front of oneself.
  • As it is successful in prisons, virtual reality can be made use of more widely.
  • Being in prison need not be a barrier to learning. It is indeed a challenge to teach people who are otherwise criminals.
  • They will be released at some point and by teaching them they can be productive in society on release.
  • One can make use of visual methods to teach these prison inmates. After all, the inmates are not in prison for a long time. After being released with requisite knowledge they can find themselves a job. Mostly volunteers do teach prisoners skills, reading as well as writing.


Virtual reality is making many inroads in prison teaching of inmates to equip them with necessary skills to be able to earn a living on their release. Technology has progressed much and has made an impact on prison life as well. Teaching prisoners via virtual reality is a challenge and this has been taken up by socially conscious people who are interested in the rehabilitation of prisoners.

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