Virtual reality brings 21st learning environments to educators

Educators know a  learning environment designed for the ever evolving needs of students isn’t about a magical number of square feet or incorporating the latest technological trend.

Rather, it is about designing spaces conducive to today’s learning. Rows of desks, overhead projectors, chalk boards and books no longer describe today’s learning environments. This and future generations will associate schools more with community, technology, creativity, and collaboration. In the digital era, the educational landscape is rapidly transforming. While architects and educators cannot predict the changes to curriculum and technology that will inevitably happen, they can design to avoid early obsolescence with flexible, open spaces that are clearly organized, accessible, and easily adaptable. Schools should reflect a community’s personality, pride, and philosophies.

But how do school districts considering improvements show their community what’s missing from their current facilities? Well, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, a 3-D model is worth 1,000 pictures. The ability to visualize designs in a three-dimensional form from every angle inside and out is a powerful tool that shapes decisions and helps community members “see” what they’re supporting.

At the Iowa Association of School Board’s 74th Annual Convention & Trade Show this week, we were able to show two districts OPN is currently working with just how powerful a tool VR can be. At the event, we used QR codes to launch an app that allowed educators and board members to virtually walk through Ames High School and Greene County High School. On your mobile device or computer just tap or click on the images below.

Ames High School

Ames High School Gymnasium


Ames High School Commons


Ames High School Media Center

Media Center

Ames High School Classroom Pod

Classroom Pod











Greene County High School 

Greene County High School Learning Stair

Learning Stair

Green County Gym


Greene County Auditorium


Greene County Commons