Podcast 5: Virtual Technology Is Transforming the World of Education. Learn How!

Steve Bambury
Steve Bambury

Steve Bambury is Head of Digital Learning and Innovation across JESS Dubai where he works with staff, students, parents and school leaders to help them develop their use of education technology. Steve has worked at JESS Dubai for nine years and is now based at the Arabian Ranches campus.

Steve is an Apple Distinguished Educator as well as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Fellow and is a well-respected educational speaker, presenting across the MENA region as well as delivering remote CPD for organizations including The University of Southern California, Fairmont Prep, The British School of Caracas and many more.

Since 2014, Steve has been exploring the role of virtual and augmented reality in education. He has helped implement a wide range of VR applications across each branch of JESS Dubai, ensuring that they are harnessed in a purposeful way to ensure the impact on learning. He has lead training sessions, supported during lessons and lead decision making when it comes to the selection of hardware. In 2017 he began integrating the use of next-generation VR technology in education using the HTC Vive. These so-called “Vive Trials” included exploring the psychology of VR using The Plank Experience with Sixth Form Psychology students and staff, getting a close up look at The Titanic with Year 5 students and having a Sixth Form Art student recreate her sculpture in VR  – which was then submitted as a part of her final IB coursework. These trials were specifically highlighted as a key example of innovation at JESS in the 2017 Schools Compared report that ranked JESS Dubai as the best school in the UAE. Video links to footage from these Vive Trials can be found in the accompanying documents.

Steve has also spearheaded several pilot programmes with some of the most exciting new platforms released in the last two years including LifeLiqe in Science, TimeLooper in History and ImmerseMe in MFL classrooms. In each case, JESS Dubai was the only school in the UAE involved in these early deployments. He is currently working to expand the HTC Vive projects, with plans in motion to use Tilt Brush with a larger group of IB Art students, Gravity Sketch and Make VR with DT students in Yr10-11 and Google Earth VR with the Geography Department. In the two JESS primary schools, plans have been set to host a dedicated “Immersion Event” with each year group over the course of the year. These special VR events will see every student across both schools go hands-on with a selection of tailored VR experiences related to an area of their curriculum. The first of these took place in September with Year 6 students at JESS Jumeirah traveling in time to experience The Blitz in London during World War Two. Feedback from both staff and students was exceptional. (Video link in the accompanying documents.)

In 2017 Steve launched VirtualiTeach (www.virtualiteach.com) –  a website to share content related to the use of virtual and augmented reality in education. The site includes ideas, projects and theory related to AR and VR in education and has been called the best source for this type of content worldwide. It was here that Steve also published a four-stage model of the depths of virtual reality which has been widely praised and shared, even being adopted by other schools and universities worldwide. His follow piece “Why VR?” was featured in Education Journal Middle East and delivered at GITEX 2017, GESS Turkey and the JESS Digital Innovation Summit.

Everything Steve produces and shares on VirtualiTeach is free and the site is completely non-profit.

In June 2017, Steve became the first educator to ever host professional development sessions inside virtual reality. These free #CPDinVR sessions now take place each month and Steve has welcomed educators from over 20 countries including many teachers from here in the UAE. Some sessions have seen Steve deliver direct presentations (including encore presentations of sessions he has delivered live in the UAE) whilst others have been panel discussions. Steve has used his contacts in the field to bring in a wide range of VR in education experts including speakers from HTC Vive, NVIDIA and The BBC as well as acclaimed educators such as Mercedes Bent (USA) and Alex Chaucer (USA) and Dr Sana Farid (Bahrain.)

In recognition of his work within the field, Steve was named one of the world’s Top 100 VR Influencers in the Onalytica Report of September 2017. This list included the likes of Palmer Luckey (founder of Oculus Rift) and Clay Bavor (VP of Google) but Steve was both the only educator included on the list and the only representative from the UAE.

Steve is offering to follow his journey in implementing technology for education. This is an impressive example of using the newest technology and available tools for educating.

Many educators are not aware of the available education practices that involve innovative emerging technologies. Why not start today? A lot of useful information in the podcast and a bunch of great links to start implementing technology in your classroom!

Twitter Handles to follow Steve:




Useful Links:

  1. Facebook VirtualiTech
  2. Facebook JESS-DIgital
  3. VirtualiTech Website
  4. Jess Digital Website
  5. JESS Digital YouTube channel
  6. Google Expeditions for group AR experience
  7. Nearpod for 360 degrees interactive presentations


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Podcast 5: Virtual Technology Is Transforming the World of Education. Learn How!