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Minnewashta: Learning through a New Lens
Minnewashta: Learning through a New Lens

Joy Curran and Heather Baker were awarded a Teacher Grant from the Minnetonka Schools Foundation to purchase virtual reality (VR) and altered reality (AR) equipment for students to use in the classroom. These state-of-the-art tools allow students to engage with learning in new and exciting ways, embracing Minnetonka's commitment to provide students with a 21st Century education.

"With VR we can see what we want to see," said Evan S., 5th grader at Minnewashta. "We could look at the international space station if we wanted to."

The VR goggles and AR cubes give students a creative and hands-on approach to learning. Teachers can craft an authentic environment suitable to various learning styles where students explore places they could not feasibly gain first-hand experience. Using VR and AR in the classroom can engage, stimulate and motivate students to explore class material from different angles.

"I am most excited that students can create their own experiences," said Curran. "I think this is a cutting-edge next step in our coding curriculum."

With Google Tour Creator students can upload 360 degree photos or use Google Street Images to create their own VR tours which can be published privately or publicly for the world to see. Students can also create and program their own AR experiences.

Bringing VR and AR into the classroom align with the Minnetonka School Board's goals of providing students with an authentic learning experience. Over the course of the year Curran and Baker plan to take students on virtual field trips and engage in immersive experiences that help students remember lessons better through first-hand interactions.

Since its inception in 1999, our Teacher Grant Program has awarded over $1,032,000 in teacher grants for Minnetonka classrooms and students. Learn more about Teacher Grants here.

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Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As the national COVID-19 pandemic continues, experts say it is more important than ever to recognize the strain on mental health that people are experiencing due to increased separation and worry. The District continues to show support by sharing tips, tools and resources, as well as by featuring strong community partners.