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Smartphones Given a New Purpose in Seaman School District

Several students in the Seaman School District have been able to take virtual trips around the world to explore oceans, walk through ancient ruins, and even take trips to outer space using virtual reality headsets. The district is looking to expand this program by creating several virtual reality kits.

“We purchased a set of two for our fifth graders at Elmont using a grant,” said Erin Lewis, teacher. “The kids absolutely love moving through a location we’re learning about while sharing the interesting things they’re seeing with classmates. Kids even ask to take virtual reality trips during free time or indoor recess. Virtual reality lessons have been a very powerful and engaging learning tool in our classroom.”

Megan Nussbaum, director of innovation, has been looking for ways to get virtual reality sets into the hands of more students. “We can get the cardboard headset for around $8,” said Nussbaum. “The primary cost is in the device itself. That’s why we’re looking for used smartphones or iPod touches. This is a great way to give old tech new life and they’re so versatile. Lessons can be customized and made age appropriate for K-12 learning.” Nussbaum will be creating classroom kits with old devices that will make virtual reality experiences available in all classrooms through a checkout system. “If a class is studying polar bear migration, a teacher will be able to transport his/her students to the Arctic to study the environment—and still be on time to lunch.”

Seaman Schools is looking for donations of used smartphone or iPod touch devices. Donated devices will be used to create classroom kits for virtual reality experiences. The devices are put into virtual reality headsets, such as Google Cardboards, to send students on virtual trips around the world to explore oceans, walk through ancient ruins, and even take trips to outer space. Before donating, please make sure your device meets the required specifications: Android version 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or later iPhone 4s or later iPod touch 5th generation or later Devices will only be accepted if the previous data has been erased. Follow these instructions for Android devices and these steps for Apple devices if you are unsure how to clear your device. If possible, include the device’s charger along with the donation. Please drop off in person or mail any devices to:

Megan Nussbaum 
Seaman Education Center 
901 NW Lyman Rd 
Topeka, KS 66608.