New technology in library provides immersive experience for students


A diagram shows how to use a Google Cardboard device. GRAPHIC BY LEON YANG/SAGAMORE STAFF

Leon Yang, Writing Editor

Exploring ancient cities. Walking through the streets of a bustling metropolis. Riding on a rollercoaster. All these interesting and immersive experiences are usually inaccessible to most people. However, with the emergence of virtual reality technology, people can begin to envelop themselves in worlds that were previously believed to be unreachable.

The high school’s library serves as a medium that provides this innovative technology to both teachers and students, fostering a unique community of learning and creativity. One of these technologies is Google Cardboard, a cardboard device that holds a phone. Viewing the image on the phone through the device’s lenses, a user can experience virtual reality.

Librarian Ann Collins said she first got interested in Google Cardboard, which is geared towards collaboration in developing apps for its interface, after she read an article about it in Time. She also said that Google Cardboard has gained popularity because of the New York Time’s video coverage of it. Collins said she then purchased her own Google Cardboard.

Collins said she hopes that Google Cardboards can be used by students as well.

“Eventually what we would like to do is introduce this to the kids,” Collins said.


Sophomores Christopher Wan and Victor Mercola are helping to facilitate this transition. They helped run an event after school on Wednesday, Dec. 16 that demonstrated Google Cardboard to both students and teachers.

Mercola, who has experimented with various apps compatible with Google Cardboard, including basic games and virtual roller-coaster experiences, said that Google Cardboard has been more successful than some of Google’s other products, such as Google Glass, because of its cheaper price and greater accessibility.

According to Wan, who is also familiar with similar apps to Google Cardboard, the growing popularity of virtual reality is due to its ability to bring people to new places.

“The idea of virtual reality, you’re thinking that you go into a computer environment that’s a different world,” Wan said. “Everyone’s super excited about that.”

Mercola also said that virtual reality allow users to watch videos in a more complex fashion. Virtual reality allows video producers, such as the New York Times, to produce 360 degree videos.

“Now that we have interactive videos, you can take a full turn and look at every single point,” Mercola said.

There may also be educational purposes to the Google Cardboard, such as in the program Google Expeditions. According to the Google Expeditions website, “With Expeditions, teachers can take their classes on immersive virtual journeys to bring their lessons to life.” Wan said that Google Cardboard allows teachers to use a visual medium to supplement their lessons.

Collins said she believes that the response to this new technology has been undoubtedly positive.

“The reaction to this [Google Cardboard] has been really, really fun,” Collins said.

Collins said that a 360 degree camera will be ordered to produce a virtual tour of the school.

Wan said that he has other visions for this new potential addition.

“We’re going to stick the camera to the drone, and people will put on the VR headset and look around and be like ‘Oh my gosh, I’m flying,’” Wan said.

Collins said that one of the library’s goals is to help introduce new technology to students. According to Collins, future expansion of technology depends on students’ motivations and what they want to create.

“I can’t predict where any of it would take us, and I’m happy just with what we’ve done so far,” Collins said.

This article was corrected on Jan. 12. Sophomore Victor Mercola’s name was misspelled.