Students in Pullman Public Schools have access to virtual reality technology for teachers to enhance learning. “Students [in high school] kept saying ‘Wow this is so cool, this is awesome,’” says Shannon Focht, Pullman Public Schools communications coordinator. (COURTESY OF SHANNON FOCHT)
Students in Pullman Public Schools have access to virtual reality technology for teachers to enhance learning. “Students [in high school] kept saying ‘Wow this is so cool, this is awesome,’” says Shannon Focht, Pullman Public Schools communications coordinator.

COURTESY OF SHANNON FOCHT

Ready Player Pullman

Students expand study of literature through virtual field trips

February 12, 2020

Last week, students in Julie Hahn’s ninth grade English class took a field trip to Kansas without having to leave her classroom.

The students sat in awe with virtual reality headsets hugging their faces as they toured historical Kansas. Pullman High School English teacher Julie Hahn said this was one of the “expeditions” her class took to go along with their study of the novella “Of Mice and Men.”

“It makes me think of ‘Ready Player One,’” Hahn said. “With all the kids going to school with VR headsets on.”

Shannon Focht, Pullman Public Schools communications coordinator, said the school district purchased 60 Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headsets at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. 

The district spent just under $60,000 of its curriculum funds to cover the costs of the headsets, storage, training and teaching tablets for teachers to guide lessons with VR headsets, Focht said. Each school in the district has a cart containing 10 headsets.

“I was skeptical as an English teacher at first of how I was going to incorporate them into my classroom but I quickly learned there’s a lot I can do with them,” Hahn said. 

Focht said the district is still in the early stages of implementing the headsets into classroom curriculums although some teachers have been using them since they were first acquired. 

“They’re a really great resource,” she said. “We just need to make sure teachers know how to use them.”

Both Hahn and Focht said student reception of the headsets has been positive. 

“Students [in high school] kept saying ‘Wow this is so cool, this is awesome,’ and at that age, kids can be hard to impress,” Focht said. 

Not only can VR serve as an asset in the classroom, but it can also help students placed on the Autism spectrum disorder. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Programs granted $2.5 million to researchers at Kansas University to develop VR programs to help improve social competencies for students with learning disabilities.

Focht said the use of VR is providing students with current and advanced technology that they normally wouldn’t be able to use often.

“It gives students more autonomy while learning,” Hahn said. 

While Hahn said she doesn’t expect to use the headsets on a regular occurrence, it is nice to have them on occasion. 

“If I can think of a project that they could be used with, I would love to do it,” she said. 

Hahn said teachers like Doug Winchell, Pullman High School’s New Media teacher, use the headsets more often. Winchell uses a lot of multimedia technology in his classroom, she said.

About the Writer
Photo of JAKOB THORINGTON
JAKOB THORINGTON, Evergreen reporter

Jakob Thorington is a fourth year journalism and media production major at WSU. Thorington loves sports, film and video games.

Leave a Comment

Social Media Policy

The Office of Student Media

The purpose of the comment section is to foster courteous and constructive discussion of relevant issues. The Daily Evergreen staff reserve the right to delete any comment we deem at odds with that mission.

We want to establish a fair and open forum for discussion, but personal attacks and threats of any kind actively take away from that purpose. Once we delete a comment we will explain both in the post and through a personal message to the sender as to why it didn’t meet our standards. We will also add a link to our social media policy page on our website. We cannot allow comments that could possibly keep others from speaking their mind on our page.

Prohibited comments include:

  • Comments with directed profanity, bullying, spam, false or misleading statements
  • Comments that could cause physical and emotional harm to any person
  • Offensive language targeted toward a specific group of people
  • Comments that are off-topic
  • Comments that are racist, sexist or bigoted
  • Comments by students working for The Office of Student Media, unless authorized





The Daily Evergreen • Copyright 2020 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in