Middle school to use virtual reality goggles

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The Washington Middle School has new technology to use for its Talented And Gifted students program and for community outreach.

TAG instructor Connie Svenby said the school district purchased 30 virtual reality goggles for them to use.

?We went to the UP Home today (Wednesday morning),? Svenby said. ?We took them to the residents for them to experience it. I took my class, which there are about 20 kids and we went and did the expedition.?

There is a teacher pad that Svenby uses with 745 expeditions she can download ranging from history to science to Charles Dickens? ?A Christmas Carol,? she said.

?There?s just so many expeditions you can go to,? Svenby said.

She starts the expedition and reads a script telling the students what is going on and what they are seeing through the goggles.

Svenby brought the goggles to the school board meeting Wednesday evening to show school board members what they do. Some of her TAG students came to the meeting to tell them what they thought about the goggles.

Svenby said she didn?t know how many people to expect when she took her students to the United Presbyterian Home. She was pleasantly surprised to see 30 residents there.

?We went to the Great Wall of China and Mr. Dicks (Washington superintendent) said there was somebody there who had going to the Great Wall of China on his bucket list,? Svenby said, ?and I was like, ?and he went! Oh that?s great.??

Before they return next month, the TAG class is going to try to get requests from residents about what they would like to experience using the goggles, she added.

?Someone asked about the Battle of Little Big Horn and that?s on here,? Svenby said. ?I?m really excited to dive in and let them experience this.?

Washington Middle School student Zane Wefenstette said using the goggles was pretty cool.

?It?s the funnest time I?ve had,? Gabe Bruns added.

Washington middle school principal Curt Mayer asked the students what their favorite expedition was.

?I like seeing the sharks,? Bruns said.

Besides using the virtural reality goggles, the TAG class has set up a Makerspace room at the middle school.

?What was your favorite part of putting up the Makerspace?? Svenby asked Bruns.

?Putting up the Lego wall,? Bruns said.

There is a 16-by-8-foot Lego wall that students can use to build 3-D objects, Svenby said. There are also robots students can program to do fun activities.

The other thing the TAG students are doing each week is filming ?Demon News.?

Every week, they put on a news program that is broadcast on the middle school television in the entryway to the school, Svenby said. Students report announcements, sports, weather and do short features called ?Teacher of the Week? and ?Student of the Week.?

Board president Eric Turner asked the students what they liked about this class versus the regular classes.

?It?s more hands-on,? Wefenstette said. ?It?s more fun.?

?We do a lot more activities in the class,? Bruns said.

Svenby said her goal was to make this class more hands-on for students. In the future, they will be returning to United Presbyterian Home with the virtual reality goggles and learning how to use a drone.