Youth exploring agriculture through virtual reality

In the age of COVID-19, middle- and high-school students in Oregon and Washington will be able to explore agriculture through immersive experiences, including virtual reality, and online activities that they will help create thanks to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Oregon State University’s Precollege Programs and the SMILE Program are partnering with the OSU Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Program to lead the effort to implement an innovative Agriculture Distance Education Toolkit. The project is one of eight nationwide that was funded through a rapid response grant program for innovative proposals addressing educational needs of students during the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an interactive, 3-D environment. VR experiences typically require the use of headsets, hand-held controllers and other electronic equipment that allow a person to interact with the simulation. For this aspect of the project, OSU will partner with Timelooper, a company that creates VR field trips to natural and historic sites for educational institutions. Those experiences will then be accessible through apps and VR kits.

The apps and kits will be distributed through the project partners’ networks and platforms and result in rapid, accessible, immersive and innovative distance agriculture education for an estimated 20,000 students, 100 educators, and 250 trained volunteers from rural and underserved communities in Oregon and Washington. 

Read more at the Oregon State University (Chris Branam)

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