Virtual Reality Enhances Learning at Warren Middle School

(above) Grade 8 Warren Middle School students Ethan Hammond, Devan Rosa, Evan Weiss, and Justin Smulski use virtual reality to experience Anne Frank’s Secret Annex. 

Virtual Reality at Warren Middle School

Warren Township Schools

Eighth-grade students from Warren Middle School (WMS) embarked on a unique educational journey using the Oculus Quest application, Anne Frank House Virtual Reality (VR)

WMS Language Arts teachers Jill Long, Gina Banks, and Heather Saum, along with Instructional Specialist Cynthia Cassidy, gave each student in the grade the opportunity to experience the Oculus Quest 2 headset to virtually visit the rooms where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for over two years. The experience served as a prelude to the students reading a graphic novel about Anne Frank.

In 1942, thirteen-year-old Anne Frank and her family sought refuge from the Nazis by going into hiding. The VR app intricately recreates the “Secret Annex,” where the Franks and four others lived for over two years within the confined quarters of an old office building in Amsterdam. The experience offers insight into the challenges, fears, and resilience of those who lived under the constant threat of Nazi persecution.

Anne Frank House VR presents an unprecedented opportunity for students to step back in time and traverse the recreated rooms of the Annex. Through the power of VR technology, the eighth-grade students immersed themselves in Anne’s thoughts, feelings, and daily life. 

Anderson Diaz remarked that being able to see something visually helped him put himself in Anne Frank’s shoes. “Seeing what they went through and visualizing the actual surroundings elevated my learning experience.” 

Ethan Hammond said the virtual reality experience made him realize what Anne went through. “I could put myself in her shoes and see how difficult it was to be in her situation.”

Haylie Tremper shared that the lesson made it easier to connect with what was happening with Anne Frank in her hiding place. “I noticed that the attic was the only place that they could look up and see outside.” 

The use of VR technology in education has opened new avenues for engaging students in historical narratives. By leveraging immersive experiences like Anne Frank House VR, WMS teachers aim to create empathetic and informed learners. As these eighth-grade students embark on their next language arts unit, they are poised to engage with the graphic novel armed with a more comprehensive connection to this pivotal chapter in history.

Photo by Warren Middle School

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