Students Experience Virtual Reality Lessons

Students in Mrs. Jessica Shelp’s class were treated to a unique learning experience via the use of virtual reality glasses the week of February 14. During the afternoon, the students got to move around and have a hands-on lesson with the use of VR Goggles.
The students were able to experience scenarios to help them learn how to use the goggles. They worked in scenarios where they were picking up items like virtual blocks on and off a virtual table. They also did a scenario where they would move and then a virtual reality robot would mimic them.
Shelp’s students will do future lessons now that they have learned how to use the technology.
“It was really neat watching the students get used to the virtual reality environment with their hands,” Shelp explained.
Ms. Elizabeth Watson, Principal of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics STEAM at the Western Wayne School District, explained that four sets of Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Goggles were donated to the district, with a $400 stipend to buy applications, by the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance through their SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) after school program. Watson is currently writing other grants to try to get more sets for the other school buildings.
“ The units were used during new teacher orientation and with our WW staff at an in-service to highlight the concept of redefining learning through technology usage,” Watson explained. “Once the students came back, the goggles were housed in the 3-5 emotional support classroom as a part of the student behavioral plan as an incentive for a day where they lost no points for behavior.”
Watson described the first lesson she created for the goggles. “My first lesson was for a 7th grade Social Studies class. Students were given points in the world in name only. They used the application Wander to search the locations in groups. The goal was to use the virtual visit to classify the area as one of the ten geographical landforms that they were learning about.” Watson said. “At the end, students had to write why they classified each place as which landform and then defend, based on what they saw, if it would be a desirable place for people to live. I tried to include a little writing, some geography, some critical thinking and the experience of actually seeing the landforms, something that would not be possible without the use of technology.”
In addition to experiencing lessons in the classroom, students in EverGreen Elementary and Robert D. Wilson Elementary schools can purchase an hour of goggle-use with Watson for $100 Cat Cash as an incentive for the district’s PBIS program. The PBIS initiative involves successfully creating a proactive positive school environment in which students are demonstrating their Wildcat PRIDE daily.  PBIS is an ongoing effort of the Western Wayne School District to guide students in behaving and interacting with others in such a way as to promote an effective learning community.
Watson is continuing to do lessons in the district with the goggles during the third quarter, and both she and students look forward to more interactive learning opportunities.

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