Computers for every student push school district in new direction
By Bob Eschliman
Dallas County News
Virtual reality used to be a subject for science fiction fans. Today, it sits in an empty classroom on the second floor of the Van Meter secondary building, behind a somewhat nondescript door.
"We're just one of six schools anywhere with virtual reality in place. That's how far outside the box we're thinking here," Carver said. "There's no one on campus who really knows how to use it, except the students."
A small group of about 10 students, known as the Virtual Reality Pathfinder Group, are leading the charge to convert the $200,000 virtual reality simulator donated by the University of Maine into a working tool for students' classroom applications. Currently, the Van Meter students are part of a study to determine the impact of "VR" technologies on student learning.
"There are a lot of classroom applications for this, especially in the math and sciences area," Dashel Ross, a Van Meter student who helps lead the pathfinder group, said. "In biology, you could use it to show what a particular molecule looks like... in math, you could use it to show geometric shapes." One student, another leader of the pathfinder group, is using the VR simulator to show the impact Raccoon River flooding would have on the City of Van Meter, depending on the water level of the river. Her project will essentially create a three-dimensional image that would show the flooding impact on the city, and could be used to plan future flood mitigation efforts.
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