Students at the Montevideo Middle School last week went on the field trip of a lifetime without ever leaving the classroom. With the help of cutting edge virtual reality [VR] technology, Montevideo fourth graders strapped on a pair of goggles and went on a group tour of the Milky Way.

“This particular tour used pictures sent back from the Mars Rover and other space expeditions,” said Montevideo Technology Integration Specialist Vera Weber. “It felt like they were standing on Mercury and could see what Mercury really looked like. It’s really a fun experience for students – and it’s these types of visual experiences that really cement what they are learning about.”

As the cost of virtual reality headsets continues to decrease, students and parents can expect VR field trips to become much more common. Though it’s still too early to know what impact VR technology will have on the classroom, preliminary research shows potential for increased student engagement, especially for students with learning disabilities.