News Story

Lower School DREAM Lab Students Explore Virtual Reality

In multiple grades in the Lower School DREAM Lab, students have been exploring 3D modeling and virtual reality. 
Grade 2 Students
In second grade, spring trimester is usually a time when students are deeply immersed in a 3D printing unit. They spend weeks developing their 3D modeling skills through a series of exercises and eventually choose a theme as a class and design a model to print. This year, they took a slight detour! Second graders continued to work in TinkerCAD designing 3D models, but this time, rather than print the models, they explored another way 3D modeling is used — the creation of virtual environments. Each class picked a theme for their virtual space. Mrs. Wilkes' class chose Fairyland and Ms. Hesketh's class chose Atlantis.
Over the course of a few weeks, when together during synchronous classes, Computer Science and Engineering Department Chair and Lower School DREAM Lab Coordinator Stephanie Greer collaborated with the students to place the models in their respective environments. Then they discussed what the space needed. Students offered to create new models to meet the needs. During asynchronous times, students designed the new models and updated Ms. Greer through Seesaw. They also added new suggestions. Working together, they made two amazing virtual spaces with plenty of secret spaces to explore and interactive elements to discover! Grade 2 students found a way to maintain the collaborative nature of DREAM Lab, even if they couldn't physically be together. 
See the link below to view thes virtual reality spaces. Can you find your way on to the Gem Sky Bridge or take a ride on a Rainbow? Can you find the underwater Arcade or catch a ride with the mermaids on a submarine? See what you discover when you visit these wonderful spaces. 
Grade 4 and 5 Students
Students in fourth and fifth grade also took a deep dive into virtual reality using an application, CoSpaces, that allows them to build and code 3D environments. Each week, when we came together we explored new skills and concepts. During asynchronous meetings, students applied those skills and concepts to a virtual space of their own design. We called the spaces "Virtual Sanctuaries." Students could create any environment they wanted and it could serve any purpose — a game, a story, a meditative space to visit. Students worked off a checklist of skills. The skills checklist was extensive and students were reminded that they only need to demonstrate the few specific skills we were able to cover together in our zoom sessions. In true Baldwin form, a number of girls viewed the checklist as a challenge and ended up independently researching and demonstrating almost every item on the list. 
Here's video teaser to see what the students have been working on!
When you are ready to explore these amazing spaces, follow this link. It will send you to a page featuring the links to all of the student spaces. You can also find instructions on how to view these spaces. 
If you are on a laptop, just click the link and you will be taken directly into the space. Push play to enter and use your arrow keys and spacebar to explore. You can also view them on a tablet or mobile device by downloading the CoSpaces EDU app and entering the code posted with the student work. 
If you want to experience the full immersive thrill of visiting these spaces in Virtual Reality, you can use a mobile phone with a VR headset. Google Cardboard sells them for as little as $10! The Merge VR Headset is a great choice for students too! 
Be sure to click the hearts and let the students and teachers know you have visited!