This year, Riverside Secondary has started using virtual reality (VR) for student education, with the first project, designing a 3D house, having been started by Mr. Meitzker’s Drafting Design and Animation 10 class.

Mr. Meitzker, the teacher leading the project, mentioned that this is their 5th project incorporating virtual reality. He also explained why he created this type of assignment, “I wanted the project to use real-world processes that architectural and design firms use.”

According to Mr. Meitzker, the class receives funding from their department for VR equipment and support from PAC for computer supplies.

Mr. Meitzker said, “The project wasn’t that easy, [since] it required learning new processes and software to get the student drawings into 3D space.”

Mr. Meitzker also mentioned that the only problem they had during this project was that the software they used didn’t work as well as they wanted. As a result, they needed several different programs to convert CAD design into VR textures and materials.

“The good [thing about using VR] is you get to see your item as if it was in your hands,” said Meitzker. He also spoke about a downside to virtual reality, “Not everyone can use it at once, and some will get very dizzy using it.”

Kamyar Hamidi, a Grade 10 student in the New Media 10 class, said, “I believe that VR is in too much of an experimental state right now to be used for education, as there are plenty of proven dangers with using it for extended amounts of time.”

There are many different opinions surrounding the use of virtual reality in school, but most Riverside students and teachers say that the initiative is a very innovative idea and they are excited to use VR for different classes in the future.