Penssylvania School Purchases 30 VR Headsets to Engage Students

Virtual reality is making its way into the educational sector at an accelerating pace. At Cornell School District, a VR headset is currently being used to help with education. Considering how this is a high-poverty district, the choice to experiment with fancy and expensive technology raises a lot of questions. While the students seem to enjoy this new technology first and foremost, there are some questions as to how “smart” this decision really is.

A High-poverty District and VR Technology

No one will deny virtual reality will make a big impact on education in the next few years. It may even help transform the way we think about education in general. Classes cna become a lot more interactive than ever before, and students may have an easier time dealing with some of the more complicated concepts. It is doubtful anything will change quickly, but there are some experiments taking place to see how things will evolve.

Over at Cornell School District, eighth-graders are currently using a VR headset to focus on how this technology can affect education as a whole. During the experiment, different teams were created and the students had to solve clues in a scavenger hunt. Surprisingly, this solution worked quite well, even though it didn’t necessarily have an educational purpose.Students did have to look for a black bear and explore a virtual forest, thus it is possible they may have picked up a few tidbits of knowledge along the way.

More specifically, this particular VR experience is designed to teach children about the habits of wolves and monarch butterflies. Learning these concepts without visual evidence is difficult enough. With virtual reality technology, children won’t just get the information they need, but they will be able to witness this behavior first hand as well. It is a very different take on things, even though not everyone is a big fan of this shift in technology. Virtual reality is a  tool for both teachers and students, that much is evident.

Especially when considering the high-poverty Cornell School District has just over 600 students, getting the funds together to properly embrace VR will not be easy. It would take them around $20,000, which will be granted through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. However, there are experts who wonder if spending that grant on VR headsets is the best decision this school could have made. Buying 15 Google Daydream and 15 Mattel View Master VR headsets may backfire if the technology succeeds. Only time will tell how this will pan out, but it is a pretty intriguing development, for obvious reasons.

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