When we started thinking about Nearpod for English learners, we knew right away, we wanted to do something different. With such powerful technology, we wanted to add a game-changing dimension to engaging newcomers in language and content. At first, we responded to the needs of schools and districts, using Nearpod to develop their parent engagement programs. As we found ourselves creating virtual reality school tours for parents, we began to recognize the huge potential to also touch students through this type of innovative and immediately relevant content.
These thoughts led our team to conceive of using Virtual Reality (VR) in an augmented way to tackle the most challenging aspects of a newcomer’s adjustment to life in U.S. which include understanding how to live and thrive in a community and culture vastly different from what they had previously experienced.
Now, our team has ventured to create these Virtual Reality lessons rooted in common locations around the community. Take a look at this lesson, “At the Grocery Store” (see slide 13 for the VR).
Inside the actual VR, students become the protagonists in a first-hand experiential learning environment. These VR slides remind me of my own immigrant story coming to the U.S. From watching my first American film, Terminator II Judgement Day, unsurprisingly, I had a completely distorted view of America. If you have seen the movie, you might remember the first time seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator vision. Fast forward 30 years, now we are giving our students a new way of seeing and interpreting the world around them.Inside the actual #VR, students become the protagonists in a first-hand experiential learning environment.Click To Tweet
Stay tuned for more features on our VR Series for newcomers.
Yefei Jin is the EL Product Manager at Nearpod. He focuses on building content for English Learners and supporting teachers of ELs. Yefei has an extensive background in EL pedagogy/bilingual research, policy around English Learner education, and programming around mental health. Yefei has a BA from the Univ. of Minnesota and his Master’s from Harvard in Education Policy.