I am using virtual reality to help K-12 students understand how this land loss looks, sounds, and feels.
To save the coast, we have to know the coast—what it gives us and how its loss will change our lives. My lesson plans are designed to make these connections. When students immerse themselves in the coast's beauty and bounty, they'll not only expand their view of the world, they'll learn how to save the landscape in their own backyard.
Some kids in south Louisiana grow up exploring south Louisiana's wetlands. But not all young people have access to the outdoors. I want to bring the wetlands to the classroom so that students everywhere in Louisiana and eventually beyond our state can see for themselves what the coast gives us and what we stand to lose. Virtual reality offers students an immediate experience, but I also wanted to ground my lessons in a community that is on the front lines of land loss. That is why I am working with the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, whose ancestral home is on IdJC. The lessons focus the science behind the land loss as well as the cultural impacts that this loss has on the people.
Creating lessons in VR will give students a connection to a real community whose is vanishing. The connections will increase students’ awareness of what can happen if they do not take care of the environment. When we show young people what we are losing and invite them to join in making a difference, we nurture a new generation of coastal stewards. In so doing, we'll help the coast and our communities. Students who better understand the coast will grasp the issues and how they can help. They may also be inspired to investigate new fields of study and work, from water management and construction to biology. In this way, learning about our coast becomes a vehicle for creating new action and opportunities.
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