Maria Galanis and Andrea Trudeau are friends who have worked together for a long while. Maria started out as a tech coordinator and eventually moved her way up to being an instructional coach. Andrea worked for many years as a teacher in different subjects, then returned to school to become a librarian.
“We started our journey last spring, and it was kind of by accident.” Andrea said, explaining how she and Maria got started with VR. The journey began with some foreign language teachers wanting to incorporate some technology into their teaching. As it turned out, Andrea discovered an app that they shared with another teacher who in turn began using it in his classroom. Time continued on, and the use of VR in the school continued evolving.
As the teachers in their school became more and more familiar and comfortable with using VR, students began having the opportunity to even start digging into features that even allowed them to do coding. Maria felt this was particularly exciting.
“I love how they could just customize and personalize whatever they want to do with their learning.”
Their school had the exciting opportunity to get HTC VIVE. Both Andrea and Maria absolutely love using the technology. Andrea explained, “You can interact with it in a way that’s so different from anything I’ve ever experienced. It is amazing. We were very fortunate to get to sets in our school.”
However, as much as the ladies love the technology, they feel as though it’s not necessary or even wise to get it when a school has a set budget for technology in their classrooms.
Maria said, “In my opinion, I feel you can get a lot out of the Google Cardboard technology...If I had to choose, I’d go with the goggles and devices because there’s a lot of learning levels you can do with that.”
Andrea feels the same way, “I agree with Maria, I think you’re going to reach more children that way. If you have just a set chunk of change you’re going to get more kids, because HTC VIVE is one kid at a time. You might have some kids collaborating, but you’re going to have more bang for your buck because you’re going to have more kids involved.”
What the ladies are most focused on is how they can help students empathize with the world around them. Many kids can’t travel to see the world, but we can bring the world to them through VR.
If you’re new to VR, Maria suggests, “If you’re curious about it, start small! Don’t think it’s a bigger thing than it is. It’s all doable, just try it out.” Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know, start with what you do know and go from there.
As Andrea said, “Don’t be scared to just get in and do it.”
Connect with Andrea and Maria on Twitter: @andrea_trudeau and @mariagalanis