Project to bring virtual reality experiences to students in rural and urban schools
Baton Rouge, La. – Southern University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences, along with the Department of Science and Mathematics Education (SMED), College of Sciences and Engineering, and the School of Education, will bring virtual reality experiences to middle and high school students and teachers through the ‘Building Environmental and Educational Technology Competence and Leadership Among Educators: An Exploration in Virtual Reality(VR) Professional Development (BEE-Tech) project.
The project, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, will leverage the Department of Agricultural Sciences’ virtual reality projects to provide the teachers and students of rural and urban middle and high schools with local virtual reality experiences. Often these schools are lacking resources for field trips and the VR project will allow students to be immersed in simulated field experiences.
“The Louisiana wetlands is an example of one of our nation's most vulnerable ecosystems that exist near communities where there are little to no STEM training opportunities for teachers and students in K-12 schools,” said Dr. Harold Mellieon, Jr., chair of the Department of Agricultural Sciences. “Focusing on these threatened natural environments and their connection to flooding will put STEM concepts in a real-world context that is relatable to students living in these areas while integrating innovative virtual reality technology into their learning.”
Dr. Nastassia Jones, an Associate Professor in the Department of Science and Mathematics Education (SMED), is the lead Principle Investigator of this interdisciplinary, three-year grant. Drs. Christopher Chappell, Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources; Dr. Christopher Guillory (SMED); Emily Jackson-Osagie Department of Curriculum and Instruction; and Harold Mellieon, Jr., Department of Agricultural Sciences, all from Southern University, are Co-Principle Investigators on the grant.