The Eugene-based initiative aims to solve a serious problem facing K-12 schools.  A  virtual reality project takes aim at key problem in Oregon public schools: the fact that students of color are disciplined more often than white students.   Educational technology consulting firm Treadwell Ventures and the Center for Equity Promotion at the University of Oregon will launch a pilot this spring.

A Mozilla Foundation Grant provided $16,500 in funding and another $10,000 came from US Ignite, Inc., a nonprofit that promotes smart communities. The project has signed up 20 teachers, who collectively teach 4,500 students. The instructors will don goggles designed by Eugene-based Glimmer Technology and enter a simulation of a rowdy, middle-school classroom.

Computer-generated students will release a torrent of paper airplanes and insults. If the teacher tries classroom management techniques, the computer will ignore them.

“The goal is to have the stress level be pretty high,” says Treadwell Ventures CEO Wendy Morgan, a former K-12 educator heading up the project. A screenshot of the virtual reality simulation.

Courtesy Glimmer Technology When teachers are stressed, hungry or overworked, they make subconscious judgements about minority students and give them harsher penalties than white students. This phenomenon is known as implicit bias. Read more from…

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