Visiting Unknown Terrain

Students, as telepresence robots, visit an environment they don't know (for example, a school in another country.) Their task is to actively explore the environment, identify differences and similarities, and ultimately figure out where they are.

Educational Level

Secondary – Higher Education

Student Age

10 – 99

Number of students

Full classroom activity

Lesson duration

15 – 60min


  • … learn to interpret clues.
  • … raise awareness about their own school
  • … raise awareness how other schools can look like
  • … get to know other places
  • … broaden their view
  • … connect with people/students in other places

Students can guess where they are as robots based on an intensive examination of their own and other people’s environments.

Own school: Internet connection. Smartboard / large screen / projector to be able to control a robot together as a class.

Other institution (school): Internet connection, telepresence robot

Students (the whole class) visit a foreign place (e.g. a school) without knowing where it is or what kind of place it is.

Authentic Learning: Students learn about a place they can explore themselves in real time. They can get in touch with real people in real time and ask them questions if necessary. 

Game-based Learning: The students practice skills through a playful challenge.

Groupwork: An entire class shares a telepresence robot. While only one person can control the robot, the entire class is involved in the decision-making process of how to explore the site.

Problem-based Learning: The main goal for students is to figure out where they are. Along this problem they acquire further knowledge.

Lesson Plan
Before the Lesson:


  • The teacher contacts another institution (e.g. school) that has at least one telepresence robot.
  • A date is found that is possible for both parties.


  • No preparation needed


  • The teacher starts the task by logging into the other institution’s robot and giving the students the task of exploring the area to find out where they are.


  • The students agree on who will operate the robot.
  • Students explore the foreign environment. They look for similarities and differences and write them down.
  • If possible, they also interact with people in the other place.
  • Direct questions about the place or the names of the institution are not allowed.
After Lesson:


Teacher starts a roundtable discussion and addresses the following points:

  • Group work
  • Differences / similarities / special characteristics
  • Clues that led to the solution


  • Students discuss these points. Reflect on their own school environment. What is different? What could be improved?


Author: Simon Wimmer (University for Continuing Education Krems, Center for Applied Game Studies)

How did this Teaching Scenario work for you?

Have you tried this or a similar Teaching Scenario?
Feel free to share your experiences with a comment below.

Possible questions for your evaluation of the TRinE Teaching Scenario
  • What feedback / reflection was provided by the teacher?
  • How is the feedback from the students?
  • Why did you decide to use TRs?
  • How did the TRs inform your lesson plan?
  • What shifts or stretches are you making regarding the TRs?

Does the use of the Telepresence robots:

  • align to learning outcomes?
  • align to assessment?
  • support your educational context?
  • differentiate for individual students?
  • enhance student thinking by addressing different levels of thinking?
  • extend learning authentically beyond the classroom?
  • increase engagement and active learning?
  • promote and support collaboration?
  • provide opportunities to construct knowledge?

Are the students participating / motivated / progressing?


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