Chillicothe business, school developed virtual reality classrooms in response to COVID-19

Published 22 March 2021, 21:55

A new partnership between a local school and a small business is helping students stay connected to their class even when learning remotely.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Flaget School and Objective Reality Games — a virtual reality arcade and game studio — collaborated to provide a new educational opportunity. By using an Oculus headset, students can visit a VR classroom, participate in lectures, complete assignments and engage with their peers all from home.

"Imagination is the only limitation in the virtual space we've created," said Colin Rose, who owns Objective Reality Games with his wife, Sara. A big reason why they wanted to become involved in the project was to allow smaller schools the same resources as larger ones. "We can offer anything from VR recess — hide and seek or dodge ball — virtual tours of the galaxy, or even chemistry and biology labs. As we build out the space, we are so lucky to have Bishop Flaget involved in the coding and design process."

On Wednesday, eighth-graders in an English Language Arts class were the first to beta test the program. In one room, two students equipped with a headset and touch controllers entered a virtual world where they rode an elevator to their classroom. In another room, their classmates could see the VR world in real-time.