Leeds Children's Hospital
Virtual Christmas Party
The Leeds Children’s Transplant Team is made up of children from all over the UK who have had life-saving transplants. Each year, the team field a team in The Transplant Games and the lead-in to this is their annual Christmas party.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 meant that the party was cancelled, so the team approached adaptiVLE to see if we could help.
We offered to build a virtual North Pole Party, which would allow children and families to access games, chat rooms, live streaming and pre-recorded video content, delivering a social event from the comfort of patients’ homes (or hospital beds!).
Setting the theme
The children would usually attend the party at Leeds Children's Hospital but we decided that a hospital setting might not be the most festive choice for a party platform.
We designed a theme around the North Pole, with an interactive H5P map which allowed users to navigate the site from various image hotspots.
One of the highlights of any party is socialising with friends, so we made sure that video conferencing was available throughout the entire 3 hour event. As this was a charity project with no budget, the funds weren't there to buy professional licences for Zoom or Teams that would allow ongoing meetings of this length.
We used an open-source video software called Jitsi, which we integrated with our Moodle platform. This allowed us to set up multiple rooms for different age groups that didn't require party-goers to navigate away from the platform, download extra software or be limited to set meeting lengths.
The real-world version of the party usually has a number of entertainers in attendance and the virtual version was no different.
We had pre-recorded videos from bands, comedians, hospital staff and even Santa Claus himself - these were all hosted on the platform. Families were each sent a gingerbread house kit in the post and built this in sync with an instructional video.
Live sets were scheduled from a magician and an animal expert which gave the children the chance to interact with the hosts.
We've recently begun using 360° technology to create explorable virtual environments, so it seemed like a good time to test this out. We have the luxury of being based at Broughton Hall, which has some fantastic woodland to explore, so we shot some images, added in fake snow and elves and created a virtual winter wonderland.
It was a branching adventure with different paths to take, audio, quizzes and video elements, culminating in the not-so-surprise reveal of a video from Santa in his grotto.
Thank you so much for all your hard work to ensure our children were given the chance to have their Christmas party.
The site was awesome, the chat room was fab. Thanks for helping to bring the children together after such a difficult year!
Thank you for helping to make this happen for everyone. It was a little bit of festive wonder that was really appreciated.