Mount hosts VR bootcamp
June 29, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Teachers and teacher candidates at the Virtual Reality in
the Classroom Bootcamp, held at Mount Saint Mary College on June
27, created their own interactive photos.
About a dozen teachers and teacher candidates circled the Mount
Saint Mary College campus, with phones outstretched, taking in the
But they were far from tourists: The activity was part of the
Virtual Reality in the Classroom Bootcamp, held on campus June
Susan Oxnevad, director of ThingLink Education, led the
bootcamp, which included Mount faculty, staff, and students, as
well as educators from as far away as Delaware. Participants
learned several hands-on lessons, including taking their own
panoramic images and creating lesson plans based on these
With ThingLink’s library of 360 degree photos and the ability to
create one’s own interactive pictures, the bootcamp introduced
teachers many lessons using this technology. Participants received
six hours of hands-on training in addition to a ThingLink account
for up to 200 students.
Virtual reality, or VR, is a fast-growing industry. Often, VR
requires a large headset that users must wear to interact with
photos or videos, but ThingLink offers a virtual reality experience
that does not require this.
Oxnevad explained that VR is often used for passive consumption
– going on virtual roller coaster rides, exploring tourist
destinations, and other such activities. However, the possibilities
for VR in the classroom are fun and interactive, she explained, and
some schools are even starting to have students create their own VR
“Students learn the most when they create,” Oxnevad said.
VR can bring lessons to life, she explained. If, for example,
students were looking at VR images of a watershed issue in Africa,
an educator could then have the class discuss solutions to the
problem and figure out ways to improve the situation by interacting
with it. This sort of learning, Oxnevad explained, elevates the VR
experience by helping students develop higher order thinking
“Don’t just identify” elements of the photos, Oxnevad encouraged
the attendees. “Tell a story.”
Oxnevad is no stranger to the Mount – she also presented via
Skype at the Educational Technology for Authentic Lifelong Learning
Conference (ET4ALL) held on campus in April.