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Indianapolis School First In US To Teach With Virtual Reality

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Photo: James Vavrek

Students at Hope Academy demonstrate virtual reality headsets for classmates and state legislators.

An Indianapolis charter school is the first in the country to use a virtual reality program to teach science to high school students.

As part of a science lesson this year, senior Sofia Harick may travel to New Mexico to check out a massive telescope. To get there, she’ll  just slip on a virtual reality headset at Hope Academy. She tried out the program Thursday.

“It just really brings you into it. It’s like you are actually seeing it,” Harick says. “The one I was doing it was the solar system. It was like, I was like floating through the solar system.”

The school has partnered with Iowa-based VictoryVR to use its virtual reality science curriculum. A handful of schools in the country are will start using it soon too.

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Photo: James Vavrek

Visiting state legislators take a turn trying out the new technology.

Principal Linda Gagyi says it will be used to supplement lessons from the science teacher.

“Amazing way to deliver standards and curriculum and the vr experience for things they would never — maybe not never — but right now be able to go out and experience in real life,” Gagyi says.

The school is spending around $18,000 on four virtual reality workstations and licenses. Hope Academy is for students recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

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