top of page
  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Inside the frog: Is VR learning for real?

Cleveland students are using virtual and augmented reality to learn about frogs from the inside out, report Carmen Blackwell, Susan Moses, Ty Choate for WKYC.

At a Verizon Innovation Learning lab at a K-8 school, third graders using VR headsets are able to travel to Madagascar to see red tomato frogs, hold a poison dart frog and look inside frog's bodies to see bones and muscle. Students also learned to design and create their own frogs using 3D printing.

Hechinger's Olivia Sanchez visited the visited the Alien Zoo, an immersive experience created by Dreamscape Learn for Arizona State students in introductory biology.

A voice warned "that a species called the spotted glider was dying at an unusual rate," she writes. She tagged and tracked a sick-looking glider, then, when it died, did a virtual dissection. "It became clear that there were tumors on the glider’s lungs, and that it was suffering from a contagious lung cancer."

The course combines traditional biology lectures with virtual reality labs, said John VandenBrooks, associate dean for immersive learning at Arizona State University. Students have to "solve novel problems they can’t Google the answer to and that they care about solving.”

Students earned higher grades on lab assignments and were much more likely to earn an A in the version of the class that offered VR labs, ASU reports.

A field trip to King Tut's tomb is feasible with VR.

"Professors can transport their students anywhere in time, space or scale," writes Sanchez. "When I tested it, we bounced from the Colosseum to the inside of a cell membrane to King Tut’s tomb to the surface of Mars, all in a matter of minutes."

Dreamscape is "developing a narrative-driven chemistry curriculum that will take place on earth but will include some science fiction elements," she writes. CEO Josh Reibel hopes to "slim down the amount of expensive hardware required" and make it easier for teachers to create their own immersive lessons.

The Immersive Learning Center -- housed in a giant blue bus -- is enabling Virginia students to begin training for future careers, writes Erika Gimbel for EdTech.

Students training to become emergency medical technicians . . . can interact with a screen full of avatars. Using artificial intelligence, the program interprets human speech and tracks movement with sensors to react to student decisions, such as the actions they take when an avatar is stung by a bee and has a severe allergic reaction.

Other simulations include caring for victims of a chemical lab explosion or a car crash. A student can use AR or VR to "take apart a million-dollar piece of equipment that a kid could never touch in real life," says Rachael Mann, director of CTE for the Hershey School in Pennsylvania. In North Carolina, a trailer with real and virtual tools brings career-tech opportunities to rural areas. "Students use VR headsets and applications to simulate working as an electrician, with no risk of electrocution. They also practice welding using a simulation program by Realityworks, which tracks students’ motions and consistency, providing immediate feedback."

bottom of page