Virtual reality headsets hit local classrooms

New technology for a local school system has students feeling like they're being transported around the world, going back in time and checking out ancient history.

CLAREMONT, N.C. -- In some sixth-grade classrooms, kids are staring into space. At Claremont Elementary, they're staring into Rome.

"This kind of opens their eyes a little bit and understand that there's a whole big world out there," said Chief Technology Officer Marty Sharpe.

Catawba County Schools invested $10,000 from their budget into virtual reality headsets with Android phones inside which use the Google Expeditions app to show different locations.

"It's a split screen with a focal point, which basically makes it more immersive at that point," Sharpe said. "And it makes it feel like you're actually there."

Today's lesson for social studies teacher Kristen Davis is on the Roman Coliseum.

"Those underground tunnels and cells were where the gladiators would wait, or where the livestock they were fighting would wait," Davis explained.

She directs the scene from the teacher tablet and virtually walks the kids through it.

"As a teacher, I have full control over what the students will see," Sharpe said.

They're hoping this unique technology will keep students more engaged when they're learning.

"We saw an excitement like we haven't seen in a very long time," Sharpe said.

The school district has a total of 30 headsets, right now classes are sharing the set and signing up for dates and times when they want to use them.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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