The students at Butler Avenue School took a virtual trip across the globe last week, stopping for visits in Japan and Kenya.
The Learning Lab 360 trailer was housed at the campus for three days, and provided the students with a virtual tour experience as part of the school’s global learning initiative.
According to Butler Avenue principal Robert Turlington, this experience was priceless, and allowed students to travel to destinations they may not otherwise have the opportunity to visit.
“This was an end of the year special offered by the company, which equated to a vast savings for our school,” Turlington explained. “It melds perfectly with our district-wide global initiative.”
The Learning Lab 360 is a mobile lab that is equipped with 14 powerful computers that run Oculus Rift, a high quality virtual reality experience that students won’t forget. Over the course of the three days, students took turns entering the lab, placed a pair of the virtual goggles on their heads, and enjoyed their trips to the Asian and African countries across the globe.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity our students had to take a virtual tour of places that they may never have an opportunity to see in person,” Turlington said. “The opportunity for a student to work with and experience this type of virtual technology may help to inspire future engineers as well as computer programmers. This in itself is priceless from an educational standpoint.”
Second grade students traveled to Japan in three brief videos. Students were able to explore one of the world’s most exotic and unique countries and get a glimpse of the landscape and take a ride through the rural fishing villages, ancient shrines and temples and into the heart of the bustling metropolises.
The third graders traveled to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya and had the opportunity to engage with wild and endangered species in their natural habitats. While taking part in their experience, students feed a large bottle of milk to a baby black rhino, sat in the midst of elephants and hung around baboons while watching them steal watermelons.
As part of the district’s global initiative, Jennifer Wiley from Sampson Community College visited with third grade students in October to share stories of her trips to Africa. While on these trips, Wiley said she lives with a family of the Maasai tribe in Kiberia, where she is fully emerged in the culture.
Earlier in the semester, Butler teachers Sharnee White and Crystal Wells rented material from the African Studies Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that allowed student the opportunity to dig deep into the culture and lifestyle of the Kenyan people.
While on the mobile learning lab, student had the opportunity to virtually experience some of the information they learned about through the culture kits.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.