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Welcome to the future: Virtual reality learning

Technology in classrooms may have seemed impossible 50 years ago, but it is now ever-present. A vast majority of today’s classrooms utilize iPads, laptops and screens to enhance learning. Virtual reality is just one of these new resources for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. VR is a computer-generated environment you can explore and interact with. Looking at the same walls every day can be tiring, and VR makes it possible for students to be two places at once. Access to new sights help students study different subjects that they could never explore within the confines of a traditional classroom.

Christina Vargas of Crosswind Elementary School learned about this new technology and instantly knew she wanted her fifth grade students to experience VR. She applied for a grant from the Collierville Education Foundation in the fall and was awarded the most high-dollar grant this past grant cycle. Thanks to generous sponsors and donors, CEF was able to gift Vargas more than $15,000 in ClassVR kits. ClassVR headsets are designed for students to gain a full educational experience. The program has thousands of lessons available at the click of a button and teachers have access to what the students are seeing. Now, elementary school students in our schools are exploring the historical sites of Prague, examining Amazonian frogs and watching Aurora Borealis – all from the comfort of their desks in Tennessee.

The headsets are an entertaining way for students to grasp knowledge while experiencing a new world. It also helps make learning feel like a video game. Learning through experience can improve retention rates by 90%, and with VR kits, students are placed in the middle of the action. The program has lessons for every subject, including specials. Check out the joy of Vargas’s students experiencing VR on CEF’s Facebook page.

Part of Crosswind Elementary’s schoolwide goal is to increase engagement, and ClassVR programming helps accomplish it. Harder subjects can now be taught with ease, with students having it right in front of them. This new technology will be useful in a variety of ways, for different ages and unique subjects. Each student in Vargas’s classroom has access to a headset, and the headsets will be used for years to come.

We recognize not every school, teacher or student has access to updated technology like VR kits. Our goal at CEF is to fund every eligible teacher grant in the community. If you are looking to expand your classroom materials, keep an eye out for our grant application this fall. In the meantime, refer to our website for information on upcoming events and sponsorship opportunities.


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