Virtual reality is coming to schools

Katrice Perkins/ Daily Mining Gazette REMC Director Mike Richardson shows off the devices for the virtual reality kits that will soon be used in Copper Country schools.

The Regional Educational Media Center (REMC) is bringing virtual reality to schools in the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) and the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District.

At the CCISD meeting on Tuesday evening, REMC Director Mike Richardson discussed the details of the virtual reality kits and how they will be used. Each kit will include 30 device sets for teachers to use with students. They will allow students to be able to explore different places and figures.

“There are thousands of these virtual field trips that we can take our kids on, and it’s a way for teachers to be able to direct and educate the students and bring them along with it, said Richardson.

He said they heard about the kit idea from other ISDs and “took what they were doing and what we wanted to do and merged it together.”

It was meant to be a replacement for the REMC Starlab planetarium, which cost $50,000.

“We can do the Star lab and other things with the kits,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the cost of the kits is estimated to be around $8,000.

“We’re putting them together as we go,” he said.

The role of the REMC is to provide technology and instructional materials support to local school districts.

The kits will use Google Expedition to create the virtual spaces.

The teachers will control what students see with the iPad and can pinpoint different things they would like the student to see.

“It’s extremely engaging for students. It should be a lot of fun, but it’s engaging and educational, too,” said Richardson.