District News

Students pilot virtual reality health program


When Woods Cross High Teacher Doug Young saw a virtual reality gaming console being used at an indoor dart tag arena, he wondered if the same technology could be applied in the classroom.

Young began working with a company to help design a program and now a year later, health students at Woods Cross High are piloting a virtual reality program that takes CPR training to a whole new level.

While a mannequin is useful when learning CPR, the actual sights and sounds of an emergency situation are missing from the experience, which can impact how a person responds in a situation.

“It makes them go through every step, instead of just imagining the process,” said Young.

Another teacher incorporating the program into his classes, Woods Cross High CTE Teacher Andrew Bird, said the experience takes learning a step further by putting students in a nearly real-life scenario.

“While we generally have students practice CPR and basic emergency medical responder skills on mannequins, the VR experience lets them get an idea of what an actual scenario might be like, on top of practicing CPR,” said Bird.  “How a person reacts in a real-life scenario is very different than doing CPR on a mannequin.”

To get started, students put on VR goggles and begin the program. Students may encounter an unconscious person on a sidewalk or witness an accident. Students assess the situation, identify hurt individuals, and begin performing emergency response protocols. On the sidelines, their instructor can see what they are experiencing on a computer screen. At the end of the scenario, the program rates students on how well they responded.  

“I really like the VR experience because it has all of the background noises that would be there in a real-life situation, so you are forced to really know what you are doing and have confidence in your skills,” said Woods Cross High Senior Hattie. “That, combined with what we do in the class makes me more confident in what I am doing.”