Students at the University of Texas at San Antonio are getting an opportunity to travel abroad without ever leaving the classroom.
Professor Michael Rushforth teaches Spanish using virtual reality. This gives students an opportunity to travel to foreign lands right from their seats.
“This technology gives me a pretty good idea about what the culture is like as well as the beauty of the language,” John Pick, a sophomore at UTSA, said.
It’s a class where having phones out is encouraged. Students download the Google Cardboard app, put on the virtual reality headgear and are instantly taken to another country.
“For instance, we may be talking about the weather and how to express terms about the weather in Spanish and so we'll say what's the weather in Machu Picchu and we'll visit there,” Rushforth said.
The 360-degree experience fully engages students for only a fraction of the cost required to actually travel abroad.
“It can cost as little as three or four dollars,” Rushforth said.
Rushforth controls which country the class is placed in, but the students get to control where they look within the environment.
“The other type can be more open ended where I tell the students to get on their phones, drop themselves down into a city and once they're in that environment they get to choose where they go,” Rushforth said.
Regardless of where they venture, virtual reality in the classroom is taking learning to new places.