The Grant Park High School board took the decision to purchase virtual reality goggles and used cell phones for $5,800

Grant Park High School has always welcomed technology in the classroom: most students have access to Chromebooks and iPads as the school board attempts to modernize the education experience.

The school board took things further with the purchase of 35 virtual reality headsets and 35 used cell phones, aiming to enhance existing lesson plans with the magic of virtual reality.

Grant Park teachers are happy to use the technology to complement their classes. “Teaching is completely different now, but it’s for the better,” said Katie Kreis, English teacher. “Technology has allowed my teaching to morph and engage my students on different levels.”

Geography teacher Carol Cadematori, who uses the goggles to show her students moments in European history, said: “It makes no sense to just tell them how wealthy kinds were when I can show them.”

“The actually see it now. That makes it more meaningful to them and helps them grasp the concepts of what we are teaching.”

Grant Park aims to undercut socioeconomic barriers and increase student achievement

Superintendent John Palan stated: “We have to be innovative regardless of our size and geographical location. Our kids need that innovation that motivates critical thinking. It means more to today’s student to experience something in virtual reality rather than just looking at page 32 in a book.”

Aside from offering an engaging, unique learning experience, Grant Park staff aims to allow students who may not be able to afford to travel an opportunity to “visit” sites around the globe, and possibly encourage motivation to travel in the future.

Junior student Lydia Sellers said of her virtual exploration of the Rome Colosseum: “Just seeing it makes you want to branch out from everyday life. It gives us more of an insight to different environments by putting us in the middle of history.”