East Liverpool Campus Debuts Virtual Reality Classroom
Kent State University at East Liverpool officially opened its new virtual reality classroom, providing students and staff with technology that will greatly enhance learning experiences across several areas of study.
Virtual reality uses computer technology to create an “artificial environment” that allows the participants to feel as though they are in a real environment through body movement and by using the senses of sight and sound.
The VR classroom on the East Liverpool Campus was created by converting a former classroom into the high-tech learning space, complete with new furniture and computer technology. This room was designed and partially funded through contributions from the Kent State Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as Heritage Thermal Inc.
The VR 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.
“The virtual reality learning lab, first and foremost, will help support students’ learning and research,” noted David Dees, Ph.D., dean and chief administration officer for the Kent State Columbiana County campuses.
“As faculty engage with this technology," Dr. Dees said, "they will discover new 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 East Liverpool.”
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. VR can help students see a situation through the eyes of a surgeon, architect, engineer, pilot, soldier or any number of other professions
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Cutline A: Cutting the ribbon for the Virtual Reality classroom at East Liverpool were (from left) Chris Pherson, president of Heritage Thermal; Jenny Marcinkiewcz of the Kent State Center for Teaching and Learning; Jordan Croxal, student; Dr. David Dees, dean and CAO of the campus; Anthony Desarro, student; Dr. Dan Dankovich, professor; and Dr. Nate Ritchey, vice president of Kent State’s System Integration and interim dean of the Regional College.
Cutline B: Guests experiencing virtual reality.
Cutline C: Anthony Desarro demonstrates how virtual reality teaches about the human heart.