Classes in our school division have had access to Virtual Reality for 3 school weeks now. Cathy and I , our PRSD8 Instructional Coaches, have done lots of learning and discovery as we have transported the VR viewers and run VR in seven of our schools so far, and we will be visiting another two schools new to VR this week. This week I will be posting a few times about our learning curve in this exciting new project.
We had been looking forward to this ground-breaking day since before Christmas. Susan Martin, the teacher/principal of Jenner Colony School had gotten permission from the school’s German teacher, Ron, to let the student’s experience the Virtual Reality viewers. For those not familiar with Hutterite Colony schools, many do not allow any form of technology; that means the teacher cannot even have a computer at the school, and there is no internet or even television. So you can see why we were very excited to bring Virtual Reality to Susan’s colony! The virtual reality experience would be a spring board for a writer’s workshop for grades 1-3 students on using exciting verbs and adverbs, and a grade 4-6 newspaper writing lesson.
We also learned some valuable lessons this day. In our excitement to bring VR to a colony, it failed to register that a Google Expedition VR experience requires a lot of internet — and we were going to a place without internet. So it is plain embarrassing to admit that we did not have this epiphany until we were actually in the school building and unpacking the viewers!
As a result of our incredibly embarrassing oversight, we learned a few valuable things:
- It IS possible to run Google Expedition over a hot spot. (Thanks goodness!)
- A hot spot can host up to 5 devices at once. With this, we were able to connect the “Leader” tablet and then 4 VR viewers. (Fortunately, this was a very small group of students, so we were able to accommodate all the students, the teacher assistant, the German teacher and 2 additional kindergarten students in 3 sittings)
- Having two students share a single device is manageable
- It is actually a really different – and nice – experience to just sit among 3 or 4 students and lead an Expedition
Thanks to Mrs. Martin and her lovely class for such a fun day. We can’t wait to come back – and not just because we got to wear slippers all day! Hopefully we will get to hear what is happening to Dorothy and her adventures in OZ!