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ORU trains Union High School teachers on virtual reality technology

On Jan. 13, ORU hosted 14 teachers from Tulsa’s Union High School to experience hands-on and immersive training in virtual and augmented reality in an educational setting.

“China is spending billions immersing their kids in VR,” said Michael Mathews, vice president of technology and innovation, when addressing the teachers during the event.

In order to keep the classroom consistently up to date with modernizing technology, ORU has trained teachers from several high schools over the past two years in the Global Learning Center.

“The University has invested more than $1 million into such technologies and assembles a library of an estimated 500,000 immersive learning experiences,” stated ORU in a news release.

The teachers gained virtual reality experiences in disassembling and reassembling an engine, the anatomy of the human eye, astronomy, public speaking and a Google Maps trip to Jerusalem. The goal of the training is to help the state expand and help students learn in a more hands-on and immersive environment to increase student performance.

“You can take a piece of furniture, place it in your room, and see if you like that piece of furniture before you ever even buy it,” said Jennifer Fisher, marketing and video production instructor at Union High School, in an interview with KJRH. “Technology is all around us and constantly evolving.”

Outside the classroom, the role of augmented reality in school can still be implemented. Campus police can patrol with drones that are equipped with augmented reality (AR) for school security.

“We are looking for the latest in immersive technologies, virtual and augmented reality, trying [to] engage our students in the classroom,” said Glenn Howard, virtual learning coordinator and technology course instructor for Union High School. “We used to think of this technology being next-level or futuristic, but it’s reality. It’s today. And [regarding] the young people of today, this is what they’re experiencing everyday, and so as instructors, we need to be at that same level as well.”

Following the training, each teacher received a virtual reality certification.

“We are literally using virtual and augmented reality to connect the world. It’s an incredible opportunity to use a Global Learning Center like we have to impact people around the world,” said Mathews in an interview with KJRH. “When you educate people from the heart and the intellect it changes everything.”