Virtual Reality at SA


Reed Finseth, Sports Editor

Imagine having a class discussion about Ancient Rome, then in the next moment you are sitting in the Pantheon. Imagine learning about the kidney and being teleported on your magic school bus ride inside of one. These wild fantasies are quickly becoming a reality at St. Andrew’s through the new Virtual Reality or VR system. With seemingly endless uses, this new technology is being tested and slowly introduced into the classroom with highly promising results.
Megan Whitacre, St. Andrew’s north campus technology integration specialist, has been directly responsible for testing the VR technology.
“It is brand new,” Whitacre said. “There are lots of schools around the country dipping their toes into it and nobody is really sure what to do with it yet, so it is really exciting for us to be on that forefront.”
St. Andrew’s is on the cutting edge of implementing VR in the classroom. As St. Andrew’s is implementing technology, they are asking students to analyze VR and brainstorm ways to make it part of their class curriculum. Junior Lisa Hill was asked to analyze VR for her Mandarin class and she has high hopes for VR in the classroom.
“Using VR in the classroom makes abstract material come alive which ultimately allows learning to be more exciting and meaningful,” Hill said.
The VR experience is incredibly immersive and could be very exciting but it has to remain useful. While new technology is always exciting, it is important to make sure that it is helpful and not distracting.
“One of the questions that I always think about when adding technology to the classroom is does the technology add value to the learning experience,” Whitacre said. “In some classes it would not depending on what you are studying and the content that you are trying to learn. In other classes it would just be the wow factor. Still in others it would allow students to see the details that they cannot see in a normal classroom.”
VR is an exciting new technology and can have many uses in the classroom. However, it is important for schools and teachers to remain vigilant in making sure that the technology is productive and useful to the learning in the classroom. Nevertheless, the endless uses for VR is exciting and St. Andrew’s is excited to implement it into its curriculum.