VR Goggles Give Students a Unique Opportunity


Savannah Wagner, Journalist

Recently, the school purchased new virtual reality (VR) goggles that teachers can use with their students in class in order to immerse students into a field of study.

There are 20 goggles in total and each uses a Google Pixel–these are similar to smartphones without calling capabilities. Also, there is one guide, which is a tablet the teacher uses to download the activity and interact with students during the lesson. To speed the process of internet connection, they have their own router.

Teachers will pick an Expedition that ties into what their students are learning about in class. There are hundreds of possible expeditions, such as field trips to certain locations like the pyramids or exploring depression-style homes.

When the students wear the goggles, there is a 360 degree point of view and you can look up and down and move your body to look from side to side.

When a teacher is using the guide during a class, they can change the scenery, add images over the scene, and even see where students are looking, because it also shows a little smiley face on the screen where the students are looking.

Librarians Emily Amberman and Tara Wilson keep the goggles in the media center. Teachers can choose to use them there, take the VR goggles to their classroom, like support teacher Christopher Kazi. Kazi’s students did an expedition on World War I in his classroom.

“I did have a few issues trying to set everything up at the beginning” he admits, but once he got the Pixels and guide working, he said they work nicely. He chose to bring the goggles to his classroom because it is an environment that his students are comfortable with. Also, he had a small class and it was easier to move the cart than it was to move the students.

If teachers bring students to the media center, Amberman or Wilson will set up the goggles to be ready for each student. But, if a teacher chooses to bring them to his/her room, then they will be in charge of setting up the goggles for class. They could request a student intern from the technology department to help.

The VR goggles give students a chance to view things that they might never have the chance to view in real life.

Social studies teacher Christopher Grube had his students do an expedition on the White House during the Obama Administration and what it looked like during the Holidays. Grube said, “It gave them a real world experience that maybe wouldn’t be available to them since the White House isn’t always accessible to the public.” Grube believes the goggles are  great for the social studies department to visit places across the country and the world that we can’t see with our own eyes.

If a teacher has a larger class with more than 20 students they will have to share the goggles. If students have to share the goggles, it might take longer to get through the expedition. A student could also miss something that other students got to see.

There is the potential for a few other issues with using the goggles. Students could possibly get migraines or motion sickness while using the goggles. They could start to feel ill or dizzy. Spanish teacher Karen Snyder said, “The students enjoyed the experience, however a few of them shared that the experience made them few dizzy, upset their stomach, or gave them a headache.”

There are also sometimes some tech issues. Since the VR goggles are fairly new, the technology department doesn’t really know how to fix the problem quiet yet according to Amberman.

Spanish teacher Laura Dettinger had the computer lab reserved all day for her students to use the VR goggles. She used the “Mexico’s Day of the Dead” expedition. Her period one class had used the goggles and there were no problems, but when her period three class got to the computer lab, she said “five minutes into the program the VR system shut down and Tara Wilson called tech to come in.”

Tech took the VR router with them and were not sure what happened. The VR system was shut down period three to the end of period six-seven.

Dettinger’s first period class like using the goggles and said that it was better than doing school work. They got to learn more about Mexico’s Day of the Dead. The students got to learn about Mexico’s traditions and culture and got to see Mexico’s museums.

Most of the other teachers that have used the goggles said that there were no tech issues and they worked great.