Sioux Central Community School District (Student Age 3-12)
Over the last 12 months, Sioux Central Community School District in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, has been creating exciting and engaging lessons using virtual and augmented reality from ClassVR.
We spoke to Troy Thams, K-12 Technology Instructor and STEM Club Sponsor at Sioux Central Community School District, about how they’ve been transforming student engagement with ClassVR, and what their plans are for the future.
A World of Immersive Content to Explore from the Classroom
Since beginning their journey with ClassVR, Sioux Central Community School District has been busy exploring the world and beyond! From science to geography to history, the teachers have been delivering SO many immersive VR experiences within their lessons across an array of subjects and classes! Troy gave us an insight into some of the students’ amazing learning experiences.
“We’re using ClassVR in 1st grade and all the way up to 10th grade. Our students have been exploring so much in their lessons. They’ve experienced exoplanets. They’ve witnessed an asteroid strike firsthand. They’ve landed on the moon. They’ve toured the International Space Station. They’ve visited the World War 1 trenches. They’ve experienced refugee camps around the world. They’ve toured the 13 colonies. They’ve gone to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. They’ve seen the cracked liberty bell. The list goes on!”
Add Virtual Reality Experiences into Every Lesson to Boost Subject Comprehension
At Sioux Central Community School District, the teachers have been using virtual reality to transport their students to impossible places, experience amazing things, and help them get to grips with difficult topics. By experiencing lessons, they’re able to truly understand their learning in ways that just aren’t possible with traditional teaching methods.
“We recently learnt about dinosaurs and fossils in first grade. Using ClassVR, the students got to be a T-Rex! They got to experience the size of the fossils compared to humans. It’s things like this that you can’t see inside of a textbook. It’s the things that you really can’t grasp without experiencing them. The kids walk away with more knowledge and understanding about a topic than they would have from watching a video or reading about it in a textbook.”
Virtual Reality = Improved Student Engagement
The biggest benefit of using virtual reality in Sioux Central Community School District? Engagement! Troy and the other teachers have found that the whole class is completely engaged in their learning when exploring in ClassVR. They’ve been creating amazing, unforgettable lessons that capture the attention of all their students – with some even celebrating their birthdays in VR!
“The biggest impact for our students is the engagement. There’s 100% immersion when the kids are involved. If you show a video in the class, some students might look away and not pay attention. But with ClassVR the kids are engaged at all times.
“I teach makerspace and we do some activities with ClassVR. I’ve taken kindergarteners to Disney World or to visit Santa on their birthdays – and they really love it. They won’t stop talking about it afterwards! I’ve gotten phone calls from their parents saying thank you for making that birthday extra special, and that’s all make possible thanks to ClassVR.”
Looking forward, Sioux Central Community School District are keen to continue integrating VR into their computing and literacy teaching. From creating their own virtual worlds in CoSpaces and experiencing them in ClassVR, to encouraging their Title III students to read by letting them step into the pages of books – Troy and the rest of the teachers have big plans!
“We want to dive into CoSpaces more. I’m looking to start a coding club after school, and let kids come in and code in CoSpaces and explore their creations in ClassVR. That’s one avenue that we plan on going down. We also want to target our Title III kids that don’t have a passion for reading. We want to immerse them in books and let them experience the stories. It’ll really help make reading exciting!”
How Would You Sum Up ClassVR?
When asked for a final comment on ClassVR, Troy answered:
“ClassVR is creating the ability for students to experience things, and go places that they likely would never get the chance to experience otherwise!”