I love to teach my students about great books and authors – I never grow tired of it because there are endless examples of both! However, sometimes I notice my students grow weary of the ‘reading and writing’ process and need a little stimulation to create some new energy around this discipline. I think new technologies such as virtual reality has been a great addition to literature class!
“When Science and Fiction Take Students Into Space”
My current project-based learning (PBL) unit is a collaboration with Earth Science as students learn about space to prepare them for a three-day field trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Not only do they study the solar system, but they get to select a planet for colonization. After much research, they not only select a colony location but also determine HOW to build the colony with challenging atmospheres, temperatures, etc. They worked on teams to build models of their colonies, which were put on display at the school.
As a complement to these science learning outcomes, my literature class investigated science fiction focusing on space. While I get to show them classic stories from Isaac Asimov and H.G. Wells, this unit was enhanced with experiential learning using the above-mentioned colony models and virtual reality! (See pictures above)
The students loved exploring Mars, the Moon, and other celestial bodies! They were excited to be walking at the location of their colonies, and I used this stimulation to prepare them to write their own science fiction stories! They now could describe a setting using their own experiences instead of just words in their heads!
I really love to teach students to explore their imagination through books and media, but 3D displays and virtual reality were very powerful motivators in the classroom. What more could a teacher ask for?