Virtual reality enhances student learning

Kaitlyn Resline

Student Life Editor

Jesse Schwartz, right, looks around in the Monroeville County Courthouse, as his partner Nicholas Hinton, left, waits his turn to use the device. The students are using Augmented Reality devices in their English class.

The students of Ms. Stacy Wolfe’s period 6 honors English class explored a courthouse during school. A courthouse located in Monroeville, Alabama. 

On November 5, 2019, the students of Ms. Wolfe’s honors English classes used virtual reality for a lesson. To understand the novel they were reading, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, they virtually toured a courthouse, a setting in the novel. 

While attempting to locate the courthouse, Ms. Wolfe encountered difficulty finding the proper courthouse. Students also experienced faulty internet while trying to use the virtual reality devices. However, they were able to resolve these issues and proceed with the lesson. 

“It was cool to experience the courthouse in a first person perspective,” sophomore Madison Webster said.

Students expressed awe and excitement over seeing the courthouse as they moved their heads around to view different angles. 

“I love to do virtual reality,” sophomore Jesse Schwartz said. “It’s nice to look around at somewhere you can’t be and actually see it.” 

Ms. Wolfe chooses to do virtual reality to help bring more understanding to her students. 

“You can visualize what you are reading about better if you can actually see it,” Ms. Wolfe said. “The courtroom is pivotal in To Kill A Mockingbird so it made sense to try to take students into that room and era.” 

Schwartz and Webster both agreed that the experience helped deepen their understanding of the novel. Webster commented that it helped her to relate to the characters of the novel.  

“It definitely helped me see through the eyes of characters who I wouldn’t think to put myself in their shoes,” Webster said. 

On the other hand, Schwartz said the activity helped him to visualize the novel. These visualizations will help him for later assignments. 

“When reading the book, having a mental picture of where the characters are helps us comprehend the book,” Schwartz said. “We can recreate what we’ve seen for essays.” 

Wolfe plans to use virtual reality again to take her students to Hawaii when they read Lord of the Flies. Even though there are not a lot of English virtual realities, she hopes there will be more soon. 

“Virtual reality is a tool that all teachers should use if they can because it’s engaging and immersive,” Mrs. Wolfe said. “It allows you to go places you might never get to visit, and the more experiences like that, the more well-rounded person you are.”

Madison Webster, right, looks around to see different angles of the Monroeville County Courthouse as her partner Sophia Hynoski, left, watches her explore. 

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