Bay News 9 Features Virtual Reality in Berkeley Classrooms

Berkeley Preparatory School students in Tampa are using a new virtual reality program to get hands-on experience. Students have been using the new program at the school to do everything from explore ancient ruins to travel to faraway places. Students from 7th grade to 12th grade have been using the school's virtual reality program this school year.

"We've gone to Machu Picchu," said Berkeley 7th grader Anna McDermott. "And we were learning about the Aztecs and the Incas."
The program stems from a new curriculum that's using virtual reality from Google Expeditions. "It felt like you were just walking down the street in a normal city," said senior Alexa Rudolph of the first time she tried the VR. "I felt like I was actually there."
The process is simple. The students download an app on their cell phones that attach to virtual reality headsets. The students then join in on their teacher's expeditions. Berkeley Technology integration coordinator Meghan Campagna spearheaded the idea of bringing a virtual reality involved-curriculum to the private school. "I definitely see the kids hold on to the information more," Campagna said. "There are huge educational benefits as far as information and as far as experience."
While deep in the virtual reality world, students can take tours as their teachers guide them along while giving quizzes and answering questions. Teachers say the experience has been invaluable to students and it gets them even more excited about learning. So much so that teachers are planning to incorporate virtual reality tours to other subjects. "The fact that we can take kids to these places right from Tampa Florida, is an invaluable learning experience for them," said Global Studies Director Tim Torkilsen.
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Story and video courtesy of Bay News 9.


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