High schoolers at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace have something to brag about: They’re the first school in the whole county to have an on-campus virtual reality program.
The new zSpace lab at the all-girls school has 15 VR stations, and teachers have found that the technology has limitless applications, says Dr. Lauren Lek, head of the academy. While wearing VR glasses, students can simulate dissecting an animal specimen in biology class, experiencing lifelike effects without having to pick up a blade. Drama students were recently able to immerse themselves in the architecture and acoustics of the historic theaters they were studying, going steps beyond what a photo or video could offer. VR is also part of the school’s curriculum for geography, history, and botany courses.
Lek didn’t say how much the new lab and equipment cost, but mentioned having the technology has actually saved the school money. “We no longer have to purchase cow hearts for dissection!” she says, adding that the students are all on board with the program. “After a few giggles and getting used to the glasses, our students jumped right in and embraced this new way of learning.”