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Where: Pickerington Local School District, Pickerington, Ohio
Initiative: Virtual reality field trips
Imagine walking into a classroom and taking all of your students on a field trip anywhere in the world. We take students to Ellis Island, colleges around the world, the Great Barrier Reef and even inside their own bodies. What public school budget allows this?!? At Pickerington Local School District, virtual reality has become our window to the world.
How would you feel if you had to write a rich description of Parramatta Park? If you are like me, you’ve never heard of it! However, if you were asked to write about a local park you visit, it would be easy. You could provide a rich, detailed description of your favorite local park. It is the same for our students. We ask students to write descriptive essays and to understand things they have never seen. I cannot take you to Parramatta Park, but I can give you the experience of being there through virtual reality. We do the same for our students. Provide them with rich experiences outside of their neighborhood.
Each one of our elementary buildings is equipped with a VR kit that contains iPod Touches, ViewMaster VR Googles, an iPad and a 10-port charger for 14 students. Students use VR to be immersed and learn about the digestive system, immigration by exploring Ellis Island, biomes/habitats, and much more!
The squeals of delight as students put the VR headsets on is heartwarming. As the scenes change, students are engaged in every slide! Students brag about walking on the moon and even reach for the flag as they walk around. Students are even able to see a heart-pumping in rhythm with their own! How else could we ever provide these experiences?
Angie Raquepaw is Instructional Technology Coordinator at Pickerington Local School District.
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