Golden Apple: Brainerd Students Travel The World With Virtual Reality
Students at Lowell Elementary spent their gym class today climbing mountains in France with virtual reality.
“If you have never gone mountain climbing, I would do virtual reality because it’s not real, but it feels like it’s real,” said Belle who is a fourth grader at Lowell Elementary. “And it’s amazing.”
Students around the Brainerd School District have been traveling the world this year using this new technology thanks to the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation and a Smart Rural Grant through CTC.
“Brainerd Public School[s] Foundation and Jessica Gangl asked all of our staff last year if we had a big dream, and my big dream was that I wanted to be able to bring all 6,500 of our students anywhere in the world and experience anything. Obviously, we can’t get 6,500 students on a plane and fly them places, so I proposed that we try virtual reality,” explained Sarah Porisch, Brainerd Public Schools Director of Technology.
The technology allows students to learn in a new way.
“Instead of looking at something just in a book, a picture, or even watching a video like we’ve always done in the past, we actually get to feel like we’re there and experiencing it,” added Porisch.
Besides being educational, the students enjoy getting out of the usual routine and experiencing something new.
“I loved it. It felt like I was actually mountain climbing,” said Lowell Elementary student Bjorn.
“Virtual reality is a chance for us to take all of our students somewhere, anywhere in the world to see anything using technology,” said Porisch. “It’s pretty awesome.”
The Brainerd School District currently has two sets of virtual reality headsets that are able to travel to different schools to be used for a wide variety of learning activities and subjects.