Irmo – Inside classrooms at Irmo Elementary School students are transported to New Zealand, into the ocean and into an amusement park without leaving their desks.
Irmo Elementary fifth grade teacher Pollyanna Buff purchased virtual reality glasses for the entire school thanks to money she received after applying for a grant. “Our school received a generous donation from a parent last year, so we wanted to use the money to help students in the classroom learn. I thought they would be a great asset to our school,” Buff said.
The fifth graders in Buff’s class are the first to use the virtual reality glasses at Irmo Elementary. “It was super cool and it felt really real.” said fifth grade student Riya Hedge. “I know I am a visual person so I think this is a very cool way for kids to be able to see and learn about new things.”
Buff said the students’ excitement over the glasses is her favorite part of the lesson. “I think the excitement is a huge plus because they get excited about learning and it’s not the same old, same old. The students can experience places that I can’t take them to any other way,” Buff said.
During the lesson, students took virtual field trips around the world. They first visited a cave in New Zealand filled with glowworms, then went swimming with sea turtles in the ocean and lastly they went on a roller coaster. The virtual reality glasses gave them a 360° view of their surroundings.
“I think we should do a lot more virtual reality lessons now that I know what it is,” Hedge said. “I think it is a great learning experience inside of school.”
“If it wasn’t for the support of our school's digital specialist these kind of things would not be happening as often as they do,” Buff said. “I have great ideas and visions and she helps me incorporate them into my classroom and into the hands of the students.”