Students Use VR Headsets to Explore Monuments, Countries and History
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CINCINNATI, Ohio – Have you ever wanted to take a trip to the Grand Canyon, but just can’t find the time? Maybe take a trip to China to explore the geography of a foreign country? How about somewhere in history like a World War I trench?
This year, Deer Park students across the district have taken each of these trips without ever leaving the classroom thanks to virtual reality headsets and a program called Google Expeditions.
The headsets represent the latest in virtual reality equipment. As technology has advanced, costs have come down and the processors are now small enough to embed in the headset itself. This creates an easy to use wireless educational experience for students of all levels.
In Alex Moore’s social studies class, students explored trench warfare during World War I, placing them right inside the action, in the trenches right next to soldiers and even tanks.
“It’s a whole lot different than just telling them about the experiences of soldiers from a war,” Moore said. “To get the chance to place them inside the environment and really get a feel in a 360-degree viewpoint really enhances that understanding for our students.”
For Katie Estep and Kristen King’s fourth grade classes, the experience shifted from social studies to science, as the students took a trip to the Grand Canyon in order to study erosion and weathering.
“I kept hearing, ‘Wow!’ and ‘Look at that!’ the second they put the headsets on,” Estep said. “It was clear this was a great way to get my students really interacting with the lesson. It’s easy to show a picture or a video, but this was a really cool way to immerse them in the lesson.”
Finally, Carolynn Sullivan’s social studies classes used the headsets to take a trip to China to explore the geography. Sullivan said she intends on incorporating the VR headsets into every unit for the rest of the year.
“Most, if not all, of my students have never been to China,” Sullivan said. “To give them a chance to really explore a land they have no knowledge of is a very innovative way to get them excited about learning and exploring new places.”
The headsets have only been in the district for the current school year, and teachers are just scratching the surface on potential for adding to the experience. With countless cities, states, countries, and worlds to explore, the possibilities for the VR headsets are truly endless.
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