Sept. 8 was a special day for Heather Russell’s grade 3 morning language arts students, who became the first at Harker to use virtual reality (VR) technology as a teaching tool in the classroom. Students wore headsets equipped with smartphones that displayed special YouTube videos, giving them a full 360-degree view of the area shown in the videos.
The students used the technology to take a virtual trip to Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, one of Japan’s busiest rail stations. Russell instructed them to be on the lookout for the statue of Hachiko, an Akita dog famous in Japan for waiting at Shibuya Station every day for nearly a decade for his deceased owner to return. Hachiko’s perseverance made him a national symbol of loyalty.
Russell’s students, who had been reading a story about Hachiko, watched two videos with the use of the headsets and wrote out their reactions to each video, describing how they might feel if they had to travel that way to school each day and how they might feel if they were Hachiko himself.