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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 

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Connection with CoSpaces!

I had a great opportunity to connect with Thomas and Manuela from CoSpaces and learn about some of their most recent additions to the program. The feature that I was most excited about was the ability to import your own 360 photos into CoSpaces and augment them using pre-made and created content. This opens up some really interesting possibilities for educational use. I had a few photos from a recent ski trip I took with my Ricoh Theta S and had a great time testing out this new feature with some of the pictures I had taken. I was able to add penguins in the snow and a CoSpaces manekin on the chair lift next to me. Fun stuff! I'm looking forward to augmenting some custom 360's with my 5th graders.

I listed some of the questions we cover in our connection below:

Tell us a little bit about who you are and your role with Delightex?
Why was CoSpaces created? Was it intended exclusively for educational use?
Can you give a simple overview of some of the key features of CoSpaces?
I have had great experience with CoSpaces in my classroom. Are there any other applications/resources Delightex has created?
Can you share any upcoming developments for CoSpaces?
How do you think VR is going to change the educational landscape in the coming years?
Would you be willing to share any resources (documents, websites, images, etc.) that might help other teachers create something like this in their classrooms?

Enjoy the interview! 

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