HISD Library Purchases 10 Oculus VRs for Classroom Use


Hunter Knoble, Staff Writer

Harleton ISD Libraries are extremely tech savvy, providing 3D Printers and now even 10 Oculus VRs for faculty to use in their classrooms! Virtual Reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world with hundreds of different stories and adventures, providing countless opportunities to enhance students’ learning experiences. 

You can explore remarkable time periods and places in history such as Anne Frank’s Safehouse or fly with rocketry and robotics applications.

Librarian Kim Clynch stated, “The coolest feature about it compared to the Oculus Quest and Rift is that it is a stand-alone and does not require a computer.  It runs apps downloaded directly to it using Wifi.”

Our very own superintendent, Brian Gray, got to experience this last week. “It is difficult to articulate what these feel like, but they are VERY cool, with some great educational benefits.… When you get a chance, try them out! … Disclaimer: I would be sitting down when I put them on.” 

Virtual Reality is also being used to help stroke victims regain control over their mobility and to help veterans with PTSD.  

According to Dr. Sook-Lei Liew, an Assistant Professor and head of USC’s Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Lab, “We need to do a lot more research, but we are starting to see that it has some ability to promote physical recovery and neuroplasticity.”

Using exposure therapy where veterans with PTSD are placed in similar situations to their past traumatic experiences, therapists have discovered that “after a month’s treatment, all ten patients [tested] showed significant improvement.”  

“Such was the success of the program that, following the September 11 terrorist attacks … [they] began using VR to treat burn victims suffering [from] PTSD. ‘People saw the buildings, saw the plane fly into the buildings, heard the sounds and watched the explosion,’ DiFede explains. ‘We did not know if it would work. It did. Better than I ever expected.’”

Teachers may check the Oculus VR out for use in their classrooms (8th grade and up).  Occasionally, they may be used in the library with supervision. Speak with our librarian, Mrs. Clynch, if you would like to give it a try!