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Technology & STEM

Plum earns $5K grant for classroom virtual reality equipment

Jamie Martines
| Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, 4:12 p.m.
Plum Senior High School.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Plum Senior High School.

The Plum Borough School District has received a $5,000 grant from the Lowe's Toolbox for Education program to purchase additional virtual reality equipment and apps.

The equipment is housed at the high school media center. Integrating virtual reality into the classroom is part of a district-wide push for more STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — programs, said Stephanie Reilly, math and computer science teacher at Plum High School.

The grant will allow the school to purchase two additional virtual reality headsets, bringing the district total up to six, Reilly said. A steady stream of grant funding has helped the district purchase the equipment — the cost of one virtual reality headset system could range from $400 to $600 dollars.

Reilly said that the equipment will be used across subject areas, from computer science to history.

"It's a completely different way to learn the same content," she said, describing a virtual reality app that teaches students how a computer virus spreads. Another program takes students back to the battlefields of World War I.

"Instead of reading about it, or the teacher telling you about it, you are literally walking through a trench," Reilly said of the history program.

The district also has plans to use the equipment to host trainings on virtual reality in the classroom for other teachers in the Alle-Kiski area.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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