“Virtual Reality in Education: Irish and American Students Meet on the Virtual Frontier” by Charvet, Miller III and Peretti

  • ©Casey D. Charvet, J. Matthew Miller III, and Jonah H. Peretti




    Virtual Reality in Education: Irish and American Students Meet on the Virtual Frontier



    As part of a unique educational environment created by students and teachers at Newman School, in an exclusive partnership with Microsoft Corporation, Irish and American students will use multi-user virtual reality technology to facilitate trans- Atlantic meetings. This avatar-based system provides an unprecedented learning opportunity for high school history students. Historical role-playing will facilitate an exchange in which students at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana learn about the conflict in Northern Ireland, and students at Sutton Park High School in Dublin learn about the legacy of the American Civil War.

    As society and technology change, so do educational methods. As the industrial revolution created larger, more population-dense cities, schooling changed from a largely in-home process to an in-class process. Now, with the silicon revolution, children are learning with the aid of computers. Biology books come with multimedia CD-ROMs, and digital encyclopedias outsell their traditional counterparts. As desktop computers have become more powerful, virtual reality is beginning to make its first contributions to K-12 education.

    Over a year ago at Isidore Newman School, history chair Mark Cowett wanted to put the new computer facilities to good use in the history curriculum. He worked with a computer teacher who was conducting a roleplaying experiment with his 10th-grade class using Black Sun’s virtual worlds and multi-user technology. He had his students design alter egos, which they embodied as avatars in these virtual worlds, and report back on their experiences in cyberspace.


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