Indianapolis – Hope Academy, the recovery school in Indianapolis, launched a cutting edge technology to improve student engagement with science today by introducing virtual reality curriculum.

Students will now study photosynthesis in the Redwood Forests of California, design engineering at Kittyhawk and astronomy on the top of Sunspot Mountain in New Mexico – all without leaving the classroom.

“At Hope, we work to offer our students the best tools that will help them succeed in life. In this case, it means using virtual reality to immerse our students in curriculum about science and engineering,” said Rachelle Gardner, Director of Hope Academy.

Hope Academy is a charter school in Indianapolis specializing in students recovering from addictions and substance abuse.

The virtual reality curriculum is provided by VictoryVR, an Iowa-based education technology company. In all, Hope Academy will have 48 units of science with 240 unique virtual reality experiences. Those experiences include virtual field trips, interactive experiences like escape castles and traveling the solar system, as well as an educational lesson Wendy, America’s runner-up teacher of the year.

“Numerous studies show that when students are immersed in virtual reality, they retain more knowledge and improve test scores,” said Steve Grubbs, founder of VictoryVR.  “We know test scores in science are low, so this is a way to get high school students excited about learning and improve test scores across our country.”

The science curriculum is based on the Next Gen Science Standards, which more than 80% of schools in the United States have adopted in whole or in part.

The virtual reality curriculum is built for the Oculus Rift, a Facebook hardware system that delivers hyper-realistic 3D experiences.

“Textbooks are transforming and virtual reality is one more step forward in the move toward a more digital world. Students today learn differently than those of 20 years ago and we plan to meet there where they learn,” said Linda Gagyi, principal of Hope Academy.

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