VR comes to classroomsBy BRENT MAZE,
When it comes to virtual reality technology in Mississippi high schools, Newton Municipal School District is at the head of the class.
The Newton Board of Education recently accepted a $3,100 scholarship to install a virtual reality sensor classroom.
The technology was provided by Newton High School alumnus Bruce Ware and the University of Mississippi McLean Institute.
Vince Jordan, CEO and president of the virtual reality production company Lobaki, made a presentation to the school board demonstrating the technology. He said that Newton’s schools are one of the few in the state to have such technology.
“This is maybe one of three schools in the state to have a virtual reality set, and the other two are universities,” Jordan said. “So you jumped right to the head of the class.”
School board president Lavera Chapman had a chance to experience the VR technology firsthand as Jordan helped Chapman put on the headset and helped put her in an underwater environment.
Jordan said this unit, which will be able to be used in any Newton classroom, has examples of history, health and biology, art, space, molecular science, geography, math and relaxation examples.
“This has many, many applications,” Jordan said. “It’s a growing industry.”
School Superintendent Nola Bryant said she is excited for the school district to have access to this kind of technology.
“We appreciate Bruce Ware and the McLean Institute for giving us this setup,” Bryant said. “We are grateful that we are able to use this in our school district. I know it will be something that will help spark an interest in a particular field, and we’re only just scratching the surface with what we can do with it.”
In other business, the Newton school board:
• Approved new district milage rates at 54.5 cents per mile.
• Deleted a fixed asset.
• Approved a contract for legal services.
• Recognized its district-wide teachers of the year.
• Approved its claims docket and its financial report.
• Tabled the report from the auditor until its next board meeting.
• Received an update on roof construction from David Irby.
• Went into executive session to approve paying overtime to a school employee and to approve a student expulsion.
• Recessed its meeting until Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m. when the board will give its evaluation of Superintendent Bryant.