Using Virtual Reality to make Science Lessons Come Alive at Nagel Middle School
Nagel Middle School, Cincinnati
Nagel Middle School, Cincinnati, encourages and prepares students to be engaged in their learning and empowers them to be self-advocates. They also believe that a challenging curriculum and strong relationships with students, parents and staff are vital to helping students excel.
Below is a first-hand description of the exciting benefits of ClassVR and how Nagel Middle School have already seen improvements in their students’ work by embedding ClassVR into their lessons
ENGAGING WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY
We have a set of 8 Class VR headsets at Nagel Middle School. At the start of the year, we set up an Experience Lab in our Learning Commons. Teachers could send students to the Experience Lab for them to try out the ClassVR headsets and experience videos and images in 360.
We started off with experiences that were loosely related to content that students were learning about in core classes but then became more focused as teachers started requesting more specific 360 content. After investing in our own 360-degree cameras, students and staff began recording their own content. We uploaded these pictures and videos and the usage rate of our Experience Lab increased substantially.
During the 2nd quarter, a group of students used the Class VR headsets for one of their projects. Their task was to use design thinking to find a problem and provide a suggested solution to advance 21st-century learning in our school building. The students used the Class VR headsets while presenting their pitch to a panel of community stakeholders which included local business leaders, school board members, our superintendent, two area charitable foundation board members and one of our local township trustees
NEW STUDENT EXPERIENCES
During the 3rd quarter, the Class VR set was given to one of our 7th-grade science teachers. The students were able to use the headsets each week as the content was related to what they were learning. Because we only have 8 devices and our science class sizes average 30 students per class, we used a station rotation or individual rotation model to ensure all students had the opportunity to use a device over a one or two day lesson.
One situation involved the students completing a PBL unit where students designed a city that would greatly reduce its carbon emissions by using colour specific shingles, solar panels, wind turbines and other green products within a digital simulation that would provide feedback on budget, increased albedo effect, carbon emission reduction and effect on historic value. One option included in the simulation was to use green roofs which involved establishing plant life that can withstand weather conditions on a standard or high rise roof that in turn serves as a carbon scrubber.
The teacher worked with our learning commons staff to design a 360 experience to introduce students to how green roofs are designed and what decisions have to be made, based upon climates and altitude related to plant life and materials chosen for each project. We found a professionally created 360 video designed by a company that makes green roofs within our state on YouTube. We contacted the company and received permission to download their video and upload it to the ClassVR web portal.
Students experienced the 360 content using the ClassVR headsets within a blended learning station rotation lesson where each station lasted about 12 minutes. Student were given an anticipatory guide to complete prior to watching the video and then reflection questions afterwards. The entire activity was able to be completed by all students during the 12 minute time frame.
Currently, our headsets are being used by our gifted learning specialist, and the plan is for students to design their own virtual worlds in CoSpaces.
“The students enjoyed “walking” on top of a “green” roof with the VR headsets. The experience helped them with an engineering challenge of re-designing rooftops for a community in Arizona“
Chris Preston, Science Teacher