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Virtual Reality providing students needed escape from constant restraints

More than a year into the pandemic, most kids are back in school, but a few things are not exactly normal yet.

Things like graduation, eating together in the cafeteria, and field trips continue to pose challenges.

However, a growing number of local districts have found ways to give their students at least the feel of a field trip, through virtual reality.

Last week, Mrs. McDonnell's third grade class got to try out the ClassVR headsets at Explorer Elementary in D20 for the first time.

"Who can tell me where Big Ben is located?" asks Kristi Guinn to the class as they gazed into their goggles.

Guinn is Explorer's Digital Learning Coach and volunteered for the VR training last year.

London, home of Big Ben, was one of several stops on this class trip around the world, along with Washington DC, the Amazon, and many more.

Virtual reality is the latest high tech learning tool at schools across Southern Colorado.

Its primary purpose is to reinforce what students have already learned in class, but if you ask the students, they'll tell you it was all for fun (and way better than books).

Student Lucy Errickson said, "In a book, you can just imagine it in your own way, instead of just seeing it in real life."

"And when those goggles first got onto my eyes, it felt like basically I was all by myself," described Kristian Glass.

"I think I just learned a lot more because I could visually see it," added Harper Hoodjer.

"Through the headsets, they're able to see things they wouldn't normally get to see, and travel all around," explains Guinn, who is able to track each student's movement on a central monitor.

"And then you can even click on one specific one to see more specifically what each kid's looking at," she added.

Principal Kristin Driver admits this is a unique opportunity and also a rare escape at a time of enhanced confinement.

"Kids are really in their classroom all day long, and so many things have been shut down, so we've loved this opportunity to kind of bring a field trip to kids here at school," says Driver.

In fact, some of these kids said afterward they briefly forgot they were still in the library, instead of some far away land or landmark.

With this new technology only expanding, it's likely that virtual reality will only take on a larger role in the learning process.

D20's equipment and training was paid for using a grant it received last year.

Districts 11, 3, and 49 are among other district also using some form of VR in their curriculums.

A D49 spokesman said his district currently has three static virtual learning classrooms, and also converted a retired bus into a mobile virtual learning lab used for a wide spectrum of subjects.

The equipment there was paid for by $1 million in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) grant dollars.

Colorado Springs / Education / Local News / News Headlines / School Buzz / Talkers

Bart Bedsole

Bart is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Bart here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Wow…Virtual Reality because the government leaders have taken away their real sense of reality. I pity this generation for what they have lost.

  2. When you don’t learn to deal with reality you are destined to live a life of drugs and alcohol.

  3. If they were given a sane reality instead of this increasingly sick radical marxist democrat society that they try to pass off as a sane reality a fake substitute for reality would not be necessary.
    The radical marxist democrats are on a mission to destroy America, it’s hisory, culture, morals, values and eventually its sovereignity.

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