We caught up with Mrs. Miller this week to talk about some of the exciting new classroom opportunities using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) activities this year.
We are especially excited about the VR opportunities for this year, made possible by a generous gift from a donor we received with the goal of integrating VR and Computer Science into our curriculum. This will take our student learning to a whole new level.
~ Mrs. Miller, Innovation & Technology Teacher
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality is a technology that overlays interactive digital elements — such as text, images, video clips, sounds, 3D models and animations — into real-world environments. The AR activities are designed to integrate directly into existing activities to enhance the classroom experience.
Last year we were able to create a unique AR experience for Kindergarteners by using merge cubes. What really made the project exceptional was that we used Upper School Geometry students to build large merge cubes through their study of proportions. It was a fun activity that had a great buddy twist to it.
One of my favorites is Catchy Words. A game where students input their spelling/vocabulary words; the app then places the letters of the word throughout the student’s physical world for them to find, catch, and place in the correct order. There is plenty of movement and freedom within the experience and really provides for an engaging spelling lesson.
~Mrs. Miller, Innovation & Technology Teacher
Last year an Augmented Reality experience took an interesting twist as Upper School Geometry students created Merge Cubes during their study of proportions that the Kindergarteners could then use for an AR experience for exploring the solar system.
Virtual Reality (VR)
We started VR in Spring 2018 through creating in CoSpaces and using Google Cardboard viewers. Last year we received a gift specifically for professional development and training for teachers in VR and for purchasing 10 headsets to be used around campus.
This fall we purchased 10 Oculus Quest headsets to be used in the classroom and integrated with the curriculum.
This incorporates computer science and programming → students will design, create, and program their virtual CoSpaces worlds, and then explore their creations through the headsets
Oculus Quest headsets are wireless virtual reality headsets w/two hand controllers and 6 degrees of freedom.
We are exploring a number of VR activities, but the two most exciting are the Tilt Brush and Ocean Rift scenarios.
The opportunities to use VR overlaps with almost all content areas. The ideas are endless and provide a robust classroom experience. So what does Virtual Reality look like in Language Arts? See for yourself:
What is the role of Virtual Reality in education (classroom setting) and how does Virtual Reality enhance the curriculum while make learning experiences better?
Students can sit in a science classroom and read a textbook about Mars or watch a YouTube video about Mars exploration, but those don’t have the same impact on a student’s learning as actually going to Mars and exploring it themselves. Since we can’t physically take a field trip to Mars (yet!), we’re able to travel there virtually and give students a similar experience. With VR, students can walk on Mars and feel like they’re truly there exploring a different planet.
We have been taking this one step further in 7th grade where instead of students going to a pre-designed virtual experience, they are designing and programming their own Mars colonies. Students research all aspects of developing a colony on Mars’ atmosphere and environment. This is the essential information they need to know to actually survive on the planet. From there, they sketch out what their colony will look like and decide how they’ll successfully transport those materials to Mars. Once all of their ideas and visions are in place, the 7th grade students construct their world using CoSpaces to bring their Mars colony to life. Through the use of the Oculus Quest headsets this school year, students will now be able to walk on their colonies they have built and programmed, and visit their peer’s Mars colonies.