Midlothian Primary Pupils and Teacher produce first ever virtual reality story book

Ellie's Adventures book launch at Gorebridge Primary 09/06/17

Pupils from a Midlothian Primary School have joined forces with a Scottish firm specialising in 360 degree cameras to publish what’s thought to be the first ever virtual reality activity and story book.

The Gorebridge Primary School’s Book Publishers Group of P3 to P7 pupils launched Ellie’s Adventures today (Friday) at the school’s summer fayre with their Support for Learning and Principal Teacher Susan Tocher.

Bringing the pupils' stories to life

Susan said: "I wanted to change the face of Support for Learning and was keen to start a book group where children from mixed stages, P3-P7, and mixed ability, could come to a drop-in workshop where we would explore concepts for a book.  Growing up I always loved summer activity books and adventure books and wanted to explore merging both together."

Susan enlisted the help and expertise of her husband, Neil, the co-founder of NCTech, to bring the pupils’ stories to life, taking readers on a virtual reality adventure with Ellie as she explores Scottish landmarks such as the National Mining Museum Scotland, Edinburgh Castle and Vogrie Country Park near Gorebridge.

Dream job

Published by WhiteWater Publishing Ltd, the book has stories and puzzles. Readers use a QR Code app at certain points in the story to tap into a virtual reality world with their smartphone and VR glasses.

P7 pupil Callum Ross and a member of the Book Publishers Group said the project has inspired him to become an illustrator. He said: "It's my dream job! I am hopeful it is the beginning of a dream coming into reality." 

Fellow group member Megan Power, of P7, said she thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the group’s ideas and hard work become a reality. She said:  “It was an honour and an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Stimulation and engagement

Neil Tocher, who works with companies including Google and Intel and was presented with a John Logie Baird award for his invention, said: “Early years education is very important and I believe that learning is enhanced with stimulation and engagement. It has therefore been a pleasure to have contributed our sponsorship and technology into possibly the world’s-first VR-enabled children’s story book!

We hope its readers find the combination of traditional print blended with the latest Virtual Reality technology, a complimentary and immersive experience. Bringing the real world places of Ellie’s adventure to the child, to experience for themselves within the safety of their own home.”

School funds

The proceeds of the sales of the book will go to school funds.

Parents will be able to buy the book at the launch for £4. The virtual reality glasses will also be available to buy at the discounted rate of £4.

The glasses and book will be available to buy on Amazon the week after the book launch.

9 Jun 2017