Students at A.C. Reynolds Middle School (ACRMS) went where no middle schooler has gone before. Sixth graders put on their gear (virtual reality headsets), and headed to the International Space Station. This experience was made possible through a grant the school received to purchase the virtual headsets. Staff and students were in awe of “being” in space.
“The apps on the #Oculus allow the students to interact and visit places they may not get to see in real life,” said Pam Johnson, Blended Learning Coach for ACRMS and A.C. Reynolds High School (ACRHS). “The students are completely immersed with what they see in the app. Students are “pulling” themselves through the #InternationalSpaceStation.”
Sixth-grade science teacher Rebecca Whittier applied for the funding through Donors Choose.
“The Donors Choose helped put a #3Dprinter in my science lab and get two Oculus headsets for ACRMS,” said Ms. Whittier. “Eventually we will have more for the school to use.”
Virtual reality headsets are a unique learning experience that some kids have never had the opportunity to try.
“This technology allows children to ‘go’ to space or countries around the world,” said Ms. Johnson. “We are giving the students a chance to explore places they may never get to see in person, for example The Great Wall of China.”
Ms. Johnson said that this state of the art technology is completely different than when she was in middle school.
“I think virtual headsets bring things to life for students,” she explained. “When I was in middle school we didn’t have technology like this, so we were very limited on the places around the world we could visit.”
Students were in awe of what life is like for astronauts on the International Space Station.
“It was awesome,” said sixth-grader Brayden Campbell, “I got to see what reality was like in space.”
Now, students are begging to have the virtual experience in class again. They were engaged the entire lesson.
“I loved it,” said sixth-grader Jabree Norris. “It was really fun, and helped me learn about life in space. I feel like I went on a field trip, but I didn’t leave the school so that was cool!”
Over the next few years the Oculus headsets will hopefully be available at each Buncombe County school.
“This is the future of education,” said Ms. Leigh Armistead, Broadcasting teacher at ACRHS. “We are in the process of a grant to get the Oculus headsets in every school in the county. The technology keeps advancing so they really are an excellent hands-on experience for students.”
More photos on our Facebook post!