Giving Compass' Take:

· With the help of VR technology, students are being exposed to the Earth's most fragile ecosystems and develop an understanding of the impact of climate change. Through these hands-on exercises, students begin to form empathy and a sense of urgency to create change.

· How is VR technology used in the classroom? How does this technology provide students with a unique experience and encourage action? What else can this technology be used for?

· Here's how virtual reality is helping students learn about reef die-offs and ocean health.

Laura McGinty, a high school biology teacher in Seattle, had a lot to fit into her students’ first lesson on climate change: a visit to struggling penguin colonies in Antarctica, a flight over melting glaciers in Greenland and a walk through a disappearing oasis in the Sahara. But by slipping into new virtual reality headsets, they could do it all in a single class period.

“If you don’t see it, if you’re not experiencing it right now, then it’s not a reality,” McGinty said. “One of the things that I really, really liked about VR was that we can span geography. In the last five years, it’s probably been one of my favorite lessons, hands down.”

Unlike textbooks or video, virtual reality fully immerses users in a dynamic virtual world – and the headset device can be as simple as a mobile phone inserted into an inexpensive Google Cardboard viewer. Now, teachers around the world are using virtual reality to overcome barriers of physical distance and give their students a first-person view of the changes scientists are observing in remote areas. Many say these VR experiences are sparking new interest in global environmental issues.

McGinty recalled that one of her students was particularly affected by their “class trip.”

Read the full article about using VR field trips by Megan Conn at The Hechinger Report.