Phoenix school embraces VR technology to bring learning to life

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ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest is unique for being the first elementary school in the country to provide VR classrooms for teachers and students.

The partnership between ASU and Dreamscape Learn is providing a unique opportunity for students to experience a variety of different cultures and lifestyles, right at the comfort of the classroom.

In the spring, the school revealed the Dreamscape Learning Pod. Using the VR platform, teachers and students can attend classes virtually that correlate with class subjects.

Marissa Schneckloth, Principal at ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest, joined “Arizona Horizon” to offer insight into VR in classrooms.

“It increases that engagement for students. A lot of students may not have the opportunity to visit places around the world and even the United States,” said Schneckloth.

When describing one of the experiences that the Dreamscape Learning Pod offers students, Schneckloth mentioned an opportunity to enter King Tut’s tomb, stating, “As long as you’ve got the goggles on, you’re sitting in his environment, turn around, look, and there’s King Tut’s tomb.”

“The sky literally is the limit. You can go anywhere as long as there’s video of it,” said Schneckloth when mentioning the vast expanse of the VR technology. “While learning branches of government, they went into the Senate and House chambers, they went into the Supreme Court. It just increases their engagement and curiosity.”

However, there are some challenges with teaching virtual reality to students.

“Just like any game time, screen time, you want to limit it. We do about 20 minutes a week actually in the immersive classrooms or in the experiences so that that excitement stays up there,” said Schneckloth. 

Virtual reality provides a platform of teaching that is different from other teaching methods. “They are actually posing the questions that build the back research, then they go back out of the environment, out of the pod, do the research, and bring their learning back into the pod,” said Schneckloth. 

Marissa Schneckloth, Principal, ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest

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