Winton Woods City Schools (Student Age 3-18)
Winton Woods City Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio are creating immersive and explorative learning experiences with ClassVR and CoSpaces, as part of their project-based learning approach to education.
We spoke with Jennifer Haller, who serves as Instructional Technology Consultant for Winton Woods City Schools through a contract with the Hamilton County Educational Services Center, about how they’ve integrated ClassVR and CoSpaces into their teaching, the impacts these technologies are having on students, and their plans for the future!
ClassVR and CoSpaces - A Match Made in Heaven
Before Winton Woods City Schools introduced ClassVR, the students were building incredible virtual scenes with CoSpaces, then viewing their creations using mobile phone virtual reality devices. Problems with using these devices in class meant the students couldn’t properly experience and explore their virtual creations – so the teachers decided to look for an alternative. When they discovered ClassVR and its partnership with CoSpaces, they realized they’d found the solution!
"We first used CoSpaces to create World War 1 virtual museums as part of our project-based learning. It was great and the kids really enjoyed it, but the only way we could view their creations was using VR on phones. We had problems with students’ internet connection, data plans and storage, so we needed a better way to view them."
"So when I saw ClassVR had partnered with CoSpaces, I realized we could take everything the students had created and fully immerse them in it in virtual reality. They loved experiencing their creations in ClassVR as it made the class more authentic. That’s what project-based learning is all about – authentic learning."
Creating New Learning Opportunities Across Subjects
ClassVR and CoSpaces have opened up possibilities beyond typical subject areas. Jennifer and the teachers at Winton Woods City Schools have been implementing these immersive technologies across subjects and age groups, helping engage students with learning in new and exciting ways.
"The partnership between ClassVR and CoSpaces was exactly what we needed. It’s opened doors outside of normal subjects and content areas. For example, our PE teachers use CoSpaces to help kids with new sports. Once the students have learned a sport, they then build it in CoSpaces and experience it in ClassVR! Seeing their reactions is amazing."
Building Confidence for Special Education Students
Looking forward, the teachers at Winton Woods City Schools plan to use ClassVR and CoSpaces in special education. By creating personalized 360 videos, they can reduce their special education students’ stress and build up their confidence ahead of new experiences.
"One of our goals is to use ClassVR and CoSpaces with our special education students more, especially our students with autism. We have a program where these students go out into the community, and it can be hard for them to visit a new environment for the first time. We’d love to go and film 360 videos beforehand, add some additional features in CoSpaces and then let our special education students explore them in ClassVR – so they can experience it all before even leaving the class!"
Transforming Education and Transforming Lives
Jennifer also teaches preservice educators at a university, sharing how technology and project-based learning have the power to transform education. Recently, one of the teachers became emotional during a class. After experiencing ClassVR and CoSpaces, they were taken aback by how technology can open up their students’ access to the world.
"I teach Instructional Technology to preservice teachers at a university here in Cincinnati. At the end of last semester I was teaching ClassVR, CoSpaces and Google Earth projects. One of the older teachers was almost in tears, which had me worried. But when I spoke to her, she said she was overwhelmed in a good way, because she realized the possibilities that we can now provide our students. She has students who’ve never seen snow, never seen the beach, never seen certain animals, and with this technology we can show them the whole world!"
"That’s what it’s all about. How I can help the teachers provide more enriching and engaging experiences for their students. Moments like this are why I love what I do."
How Would You Sum Up ClassVR?
When asked the big question above, Jennifer answered:
"ClassVR is one of those resources that we know is going to completely engage our students. It’s going to pull them into the lesson and hold their attention, so much so that we sometimes can’t get them to put the headsets down. It’s a difference-maker in education. It allows us to bring the entire world to our students."