Used iPhones needed for virtual reality lessons


HUNTINGBURG — If you’ve got an old iPhone you’re not using, Southwest Dubois Schools would like to take it off your hands.

The corporation is looking for people to donate their old iPhones for use with a set of virtual reality goggles the corporation bought to augment lessons.

“It works out really well at the middle school and high school because students have their own phones that they can use,” said Katie Beck, the corporation’s technology integration specialist. “In the elementary schools, it’s a little harder.”

Although the corporation could have gotten sets that included the iPhones, Beck said the staff ultimately decided not to because it was cost prohibitive. They opted instead to let students use their own phones with the goggles and to seek used phones for those who don’t have their own.

The goggles work with the Google Expeditions iPhone application to offer students virtual field trips to a multitude of places: the Egyptian pyramids, the inside of a cell, outer space and the depths of the ocean, to name a few. Students log into the app and join an expedition their teachers have opened, then they slide the phone into the goggles and put them on. From there, the teachers can guide students through 360-degree views of the virtual destination.

So far, Beck said, teachers have used the goggles to introduce and augment lessons, finding that the experiences increase students’ interest and motivation.

The goggles seem to be used most in social studies lessons, Beck said, but science teachers are also using them. English teachers, too, are seeing the value in the goggles and using them to introduce students to the time periods of their literature assignments.

“We want to try to use them in all the disciplines,” Beck said. “We’re excited about them.” 

People wishing to donate old iPhones should delete all their personal information and return the phones to factory settings before dropping them off at any of the corporation’s schools. If possible, Beck said, they’d also like the charger.

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