By Fred Woods
Virtual reality. If you can’t actually go and see it first hand, virtual reality is the next best thing. Opelika Board of Education members and others attending last Tuesday’s board meeting got a taste of this new form of learning, experiencing the World Trade Center Memorial and environs and a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.through a headset. This is not just looking at pictures. You are actually in the middle of the action. Stacy Royster, Opelika City Schools technology director demonstrated the devices, called Google Expedition Kits.
The school system has purchased 30 of the kits for $10,000. After demonstrating the kits to teachers and students more may be purchased if the demand is there. The virtual reality kits allow students to visit roughly 500 different destinations by placing a headset device over their eyes. More destinations are being added constantly.
The destinations come loaded on an electronic notebook for use by teachers. Students experience the destinations through using a handheld “headset.”
After this, the rest of the school board meeting seemed pretty mundane. Several out-of state trips were approved for the OHS track team and participation of the OHS band in a San Antonio, Tex., parade was also approved. The purchase of a special needs school bus was also approved.