Pal-Mac schools use virtual reality goggles to provide an immersive experience

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PALMYRA, N.Y. (WROC) — Palmyra-Macedon High School has found a way to integrate technology and learning, especially in “Living Environment” class.

“I’m more of a visual learner,” said Ivan Reynolds, 10th grader. “Being able to see the cells, and see how they work, the details of them is very helpful.”

These 24 virtual reality goggles came to the high school and middle schools about a year ago. The school describes it as:

“Not cutting edge, but bleeding edge technology,” Chip Dolce, Director of Instructional Technology at Pal-Mac.

The headsets are paired with Google software that allows students to visually “tour” different places in an 360-degree immersive way.

“Maybe they wanted to go to Greece in history class with Mrs. Wagner,” said Susan Grammatico, Instructional Coach for Innovation.

The goggles are shared throughout the school, for a wide variety of subjects. In this class, students are learning about the human nervous system. They can “go inside” the brain, and see the how the neurons, dendrites, and electricity connects.

10th grader Sarah Baker says she’s always had an interest in genetics and neuroscience.

“We can see the structure and all the elements, and it’s a lot more memorable than hearing about it and seeing it drawn on board,” Baker said.

“It takes whatever is on the paper and makes it come alive,” Grammatico said.

Science teacher Jeffery Cheramie uses a tablet to control the lesson. He can also monitor which headsets are in use in this magical experience. It’s almost like…

“People in my generation know the ‘Magic School Bus,’ where everybody said Ms. Frizzle can go into the human body, that’s what we’re able to do now,” Cheramie said.

So far, there only seems to be one drawback.

“If you have motion sickness, standing up can really make you wobbly, so they recommend that you sit down,” Dolce said.

As fun and flashy as it is, this technology helps kids learn in a time that is filled with other distractions… and gives everyone greater access, from the human brain, to world itself.

“It creates an equitable experience for all of our students. Students that normally might not be able to go on some of these vacations or areas around the world, they’re already there,” Grammatico said.

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