Hardware store Lowe’s might not seem like the most obvious place for pushing forward the frontiers of technical advancement, but the company has already shown its willingness to try out virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. Lowe’s are also keen to share its benefits with others, as revealed by a grant awarded to a Pennsylvania school district.
High-end VR equipment is expensive, as anyone with even cursory knowledge of the sector will know. As such, many cash-strapped schools have unfortunately had to forgo the advantages of VR in education to spend money on more vital areas. A $5,000 grant from Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program aims to ease this burden by providing funding for the purchase of VR equipment and software.
The recipient of the grant is the Plum Borough School District, which will house the equipment as a high school media centre. The integration of VR into the classroom is part of a wider strategy throughout the district to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) programs. The grant will allow the school to purchase more VR headsets, bringing the total available to six, along with additional educational apps.
The VR headsets will be used across various subject areas, for science to history. There are also plans to use the VR equipment to host training days for other teachers in the area to train them on the use of VR in the classroom.
Stephanie Reilly, math and computer science teacher at Plum High School said: “It’s a completely different way to learn the same content,” She went on to describe a VR app that demonstrates how a computer virus spreads and another program takes students to the battlefields of World War I, “Instead of reading about it, or the teacher telling you about it, you are literally walking through a trench.”
VR and AR is becoming increasingly common in the classroom, VRFocus will continue to bring you the latest developments in this area.