Kent State Salem Cuts Ribbon on Virtual Reality Classroom
Kent State University at Salem has officially opened its new virtual reality classroom, providing students and staff with technology that will greatly enhance learning experiences across several areas of study.
The Salem Community Foundation Virtual Technology Classroom was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that highlighted the financial support from the Salem Community Foundation that made the classroom possible.
“This space is the perfect example of where philanthropic support for access combines with support for research,” says David Dees, Ph.D., dean and chief administration officer for the Kent State Columbiana County campuses. “Both are possible through this project. The virtual reality learning lab, first and foremost, will help support students’ learning and research. As faculty engage with this technology, they will find approaches to learning that improve students’ long-term recall of critical course concepts. This lab is a shining example of combining innovative research with student access to opportunity. This truly models who we are at Kent State University at Salem.”
Virtual reality uses computer technology to create an “artificial environment” that allows the users to feel as though they are in a real environment through body movement and by using the senses of sight and sound.
The virtual reality images are extremely realistic, and the user can interact with virtual features or items projected into the artificial environment. The experience is created using head-mounted goggles, a hand-held controller and sophisticated software. A wall-mounted screen allows other students in the classroom to view similar images simultaneously.
This virtual reality room also includes additional goggles and computer technology to allow multiple students to experience a virtual environment while the instructor teaches.
The virtual reality classroom at Kent State Salem was created by converting a former chemistry lab into the high-tech learning space, complete with new furniture and computer technology.
The technology and its supporting software can create learning experiences for most major subject areas, including anatomy, geography, chemistry, math, psychology and history.
Students can step into artificial environments to explore the human body, space, historical buildings, landmarks, oceans and volcanoes. Virtual reality can help students see a situation through the eyes of a surgeon, architect, engineer, pilot, soldier or any number of other professions.