Eleanor Chute Cornell eighth-grader Jada Jenkins uses a hand controller to communicate with other students and navigate through a forest in the Voyage virtual field trip. Photo: Eleanor Chute for The Hechinger Report Cornell School District eighth-grader Jada Jenkins stood in her conventional classroom and journeyed to another world.

Thanks to a virtual reality headset placed over her eyes, the desks and chairs disappeared from sight. Instead, she was surrounded by a three-dimensional deciduous forest that was decidedly different from the ordinary environment of her Western Pennsylvania school.

The illustrated forest — with geometric-shaped trees, other plants and animals — beckoned Jada and the other eighth-graders to an adventure. “Oh, cool!” exclaimed Jada, who was given her own avatar in the forest.

She looked for her classmates, motioning with the controller in her hand to make her avatar move. “I’m waving at you.

Turn around,” she called to a friend This story also appeared in PublicSource Choose as many newsletters as you like As they worked, their earphones provided a forest ambience: water rippling in a lake, or a reverberating echo in a cave. Jada said she learned facts about wolves and monarch butterflies in the hunt. Read more from…

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