Teacher Review for NYT VR - Virtual Reality Stories from the NYTimes

Virtual Reality Invites Real Writing

Patricia E.
Classroom teacher
Brielle Elementary School
Brielle, NJ
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My Grades 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 4
Support 3
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Individual
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
General
How I Use It
At the beginning of every class, my eighth grade students complete a "Dedicated 10," 10 minutes of writing about whatever they choose. I provide a prompt, often a Google Slide with a quote, or a link to a video that I play (such as "Bystander" available on Vimeo). Although I do not yet have Google Cardboard for all my students, I have a pending grant with the PTO to obtain a set of 30. The daily videos,"The Daily 360," short, vivid, and covering a wide range of topics, are what I will use as possible prompts for the start of our day together.
My Take
I like almost everything about the opportunity that the app affords my students; however, the success of implementation will depend upon the way the app reacts with various devices (and the presumption is that students have their own smartphones to use). Many of my students use iOS, but I am using my Samsung Android. Other users have commented on the differences between the two. The Gallery provides other types of videos to use to support content or invite students to discover topics and content that could drive independent projects. All of these could be possible writing topics or food for further investigation. Furthermore, the TIMES continues to produce VR experiences. Some students may be deterred by the motion, as has been sited by other reviewers. Additionally, the instructions for use are the responsibility of the teacher initially. Having said that, the kids will be able to quickly operate the device independently. The content of any videos could also be used to discuss the types of media literacy questions that are encouraged by National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), such as: What is the purpose of this message? Who constructed it? What voices are represented? What voices are missing?