At Mason, we recently asked teachers what they wanted us to know about them as learners. The vast majority of teachers in our five buildings wanted us to know that they are visual learners and want to see things for themselves. Yes, I get it. Me too! Speaking in hypotheticals or reading others’ stories works for some learners but not all. For example, reading about how personalized learning should look doesn’t show you how it looks in practice. How can you bring an experience to teachers, honor their time, and keep students with their daily mentor/teacher? How about a virtual site visit?
We are about to embark on our first site visit with VR cameras in hand. Our goals are to get photos of innovative environments and see personalized learning in action. The cameras, Rivio R360s, record video as well as 5 Megapixel still photographs. It is our first time experimenting with the technology, so I’m expecting a few bumps and bruises. I’ll be taking iPhone stills/videos as a backup. The first time out things might not be perfect but if successful, teachers and even students, armed with virtual reality goggles can see innovative environments and personalized learning in action anytime, anywhere. The time problem, using this innovation, no longer becomes an obstacle to a site visit.
Imagine the Possibilities
What if, we shipped our Rivio R360, Flat Stanley-style, to places throughout the world to open our eyes to new possibilities eliminating the need to spend district resources on travel?
What if, we gathered questions from our teachers, to understand what they want to know that will help them grow?
What if, we pooled our resources and site visits were shared among other educators?
I believe there are vast possibilities here.
“A rising tide lifts all boats”
Right now, we’re seeing if the virtual reality site visit idea works on a small scale, but the bigger picture is always in the back of my mind. Time, an issue in every district, no longer becomes an obstacle if we use technology to help redefine our work. By working together, we can move farther faster resulting in a premier experience for students.
Stay tuned, and you will learn how well the technology worked and ultimately if teachers felt the virtual reality site visit helped them gain valuable insights. If you are interested in learning more, add a comment with your contact information.