Virtual Reality Being Utilized in Classes at WPU
In the age of technology, teaching material solely from a textbook can pose some difficulties for professors. But a handful of William Penn University faculty members have taken the opportunity to utilize virtual reality to teach beyond the textbook, while still in a classroom environment.
Stephen Henderson, Assistant Professor of Education, has implemented virtual reality into his curriculum. Since the installment of the technology, Henderson’s students have been able to walk through ancient Jerusalem, the streets of Rome, and tour the medieval city of Brugge – all from a classroom.
“A lot of the educational literature that I have been reading has been discussing the use of VR, stating VR is the next “big thing” in the world of education,” said Henderson. “The use of VR fits perfectly into a history class. It allows students to experience and see history, rather than just learning about places, events, or people.”
By implementing this cutting-edge technology into the classroom, Henderson, and other professors at the university, are able to have engaging experiences with their students while viewing and hearing about the material. This is a modern alternative to a typical classroom lecture.
In addition to Henderson’s Social Science for Elementary Education class, Josh Stutting, Instructor of Computer Science, and Emily Ott, Adjunct Instructor of Art, have also implemented VR into their teachings.
Within the Computer Science program, Stutting worked with WPU students to create a mobile virtual reality kit. The concept of creating the kit was a request of Liberian missionaries who spoke with William Penn students about training locals on technical skills, such as welding. In a country with limited resources, training vocational skills can be costly and wasteful of materials. Students are diligently working to create an “off the grid” model that can work in remote locations that may not have access to electricity, internet, or other modern conveniences.
Professor Ott has integrated VR into her curriculum by having students reflect on an art site of their choice, using Google Cardboard with Google Street View. Ott utilizes Google Street View so students can be fully immersed in a museum experience and witness exhibits and art virtually.
To learn more about our academic programs at William Penn University, visit www.wmpenn.edu. For more information about our students’ VR experiences, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-673-1010.
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