Schools debut Google Cardboard goggles for virtual learning
Published 5:44 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Beaufort County Schools is taking a step into the world of virtual reality — but doing it in an affordable way.
The school district purchased 15 Google Cardboard goggles, the tech giant’s answer to the bulkier Oculus Rift. Beaufort County Ed Tech students, including Felix Burgess, Justin White, Decoda Hollowell and Dequan Wiggins, demonstrated how the goggles work to a gathering of school officials Tuesday, according to Paul Huggins, instructional technology coordinator for Beaufort County Schools.
The lightweight goggles are made out of cardboard, as the name suggests, and upon connecting to a smartphone app with the phone attached to the goggles, a 3-D virtual tour of anywhere in the world, from New York to Tokyo, awaits the viewer. Users also have a 360-degree view of the location and can create the same view of their own surroundings.
Huggins said the district was able to purchase the goggles for training at a low price, using money from its Rural and Low-Income School Program grant. So far, Chocowinity Primary School and P.S. Jones Middle School have expressed plans to purchase goggles of their own to use in the classroom, he said.
Huggins said virtual reality is a way for students to have a more lifelike experience in the classroom, instead of only seeing pictures in a book.
Amy Bennett, who teaches physical education and theater at Ed Tech, said she has already used the training goggles in her theater class, allowing students to take 3-D tours of famous theaters around the world.
“They like technology, and so anything you can use that reaches them where they are,” she said.
Bennett said the goggles also keep her students focused on what they are seeing and eliminate distractions.
The Ed Tech students chosen to demonstrate Google Cardboard were also excited about the opportunity.
Dequan Wiggins, a ninth-grader at Ed Tech, said it was fun to switch roles and be able to teach the teachers and principals. He said it was also a way for him to exercise leadership skills.
“It was actually pretty cool,” Wiggins said.
“It was definitely something new,” 10th-grader Justin White added.
Bennett said she thinks the technology will be an asset to her classroom and a good opportunity for the adults to learn something new, as well.
“A lot of times, they know more than we do,” she said.