Primary school road safety enters a new dimension

07.59 | 18 July 2019 | | 4 comments

Road Safety GB has developed a ‘world-first’ augmented reality teaching resource, which will be evaluated over the next two years thanks to funding provided by the DfT.

The app, ‘Arility’, uses augmented reality – where virtual objects are layered over real world settings – to deliver engaging travel and road safety information to primary school aged children.

With 360 degree visuals and entertaining sound effects, children interact directly with augmented reality characters to identify risks and learn to make safe choices.

The resource will test children on a range of common scenarios, including how to use a pedestrian crossing, retrieving a ball from the road and how to cross the road with a bike.

Michael Ellis, road safety minister, said: “Road safety is a priority for the DfT. It is vital that we find new ways to make sure young people learn about and are interested in road safety.

“This exciting project will help schools deliver engaging lessons for pupils, and I’m delighted to hear that it’s already having a positive effect in its trial runs.”

The app is being trialed at Westgate Primary School in Warwickshire – with teachers describing it as a ‘fun and interesting’ way to engage children on important road safety topics. 

The app and associated resources will be available from 2 September – to coincide with the start of the 2019/20 school year – on the Road Safety GB website. The resource will also be made available to all Road Safety GB member organisations.

Alan Kennedy, executive director of Road Safety GB, said: “The resource will be made available to every primary and junior school in the UK and therefore millions of children will have the opportunity to be involved in this new learning experience.

“Road safety teams across the UK will present Arility to children in their local schools, opening up many future opportunities to work with teachers and pupils, and enhancing child road safety across the UK.”

Road Safety GB will also use part of the £200k funding to carry out research into the effectiveness of classroom based road safety education and to determine if children can retain the knowledge learned and demonstrate the correct behaviours over a period of time.



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    Hi Peter,

    Thank you for your positive comments. However, some of the issues you discuss are issues that have been around now for some time, and are likely to be there for some time to come, whether resources are I.T. based or simply traditional books, discussions etc. What we hoping is that this will help to reinvigorate and motivate schools and LHA teams to engage in road safety education and training. You have been in road safety education longer than I have (probably) 🙂 and you know that there is no magic wand. We have to work hard and use our inventiveness as a profession to encourage anyone to get involved in road safety education. In our pilot scheme we saw that children (and teachers) really enjoyed using the AR, and that is a positive step. Hope you are enjoying retirement!

    Alan Kennedy
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Congratulations. An approach which is up to date in terms of tech for the next generation. What i see and read suggests an exciting step forward in road safety education.
    Have the depleted “road safety teams” been taught how to use it and had sufficient time to co-ordinate their already busy schedules to present this to schools, or will schools start using it before the professionals can present it?

    I hope the “associated resources” mentioned in the article are sufficient tablets for schools who in recent months been saying they cannot afford books, pencils and even toilet paper.

    It will be interesting to see in the evaluation figures the number of children who really have the opportunity to be involved as against the figure on the school register.

    Peter Wilson, Chichester
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    Craig, the evaluation started some time ago with pilot schools in Warwickshire. Unfortunately, we could not publicise this due to waiting for the Governments road safety statement. The programme goes live in September 2019 when the schools return, and it will take some time for all schools to get involved. However, we have set out a planned programme for the research that will continue over the next 18 months, and have identified a number of schools across the UK that will not have access to the resource during that time and that will act as a control group. The evaluation is being carried out by a respected and independent research team, that has much experience and we are very confident that the research will be professional and rigorous. This resource is the first that Road Safety GB has developed and we are very keen to ensure it is evaluated appropriately.

    Alan Kennedy, Durham
    Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

    AR is a popular way of engaging a younger audience (think PokemonGO) so it will be fascinating so see how this approach compares to traditional techniques. There’s certainly a lot of funding behind this and it would be great for stakeholders to understand:

    How knowledge retention / planned behaviour / reported behaviour works for this versus a traditional classroom or assembly-based approach.

    The article mentions an evaluation but it seems strange this is taking place after they system goes live? As long as it is rigorous, professional and independent we can use this method in other interventions. Without it it’s just another case of a shiny new technique with no evidence of impact.

    Craig McAlpine, Dublin
    Agree (10) | Disagree (0)

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