On Friday, March 8, Cabox Aspiring Geopark’s Paul Wylezol and Rob Thomas visited Templeton Academy in Meadows on the North Shore of the Humber Arm to introduce students to the region’s natural and cultural heritage using maps and virtual reality (VR) goggles. The visit to the Grade 3 class of teachers Brandy Thomas and Natasha Caines – which recently learned about maps – began with an introduction to James Cook and the work he did in the Bay of Islands 250 years ago (1767-68). Cook drew the outline of Newfoundland and was followed by 19th and 20th century geologists who, in the tradition of England’s William Smith (1769-1839), “colored” it in.
The students were asked questions about the area’s geography, with correct answers receiving an opportunity to win a prize.
The students then learned of eight scenic “hotspots” in the Bay of Islands where residents and tourists can get spectacular views of the region’s geographic landscapes. With the help of an Oculus Rift headset, the kids were transported via the Drifting Apart VR to those locations, which included Man in the Mountain, Cape Blow Me Down and Weeball.
For most of the kids, virtual reality was a new and thrilling experience. It is hoped that it – and Cabox Geopark – will inspire them to learn more about the region’s natural and cultural heritage, and encourage them to experience our spectacular landscapes first hand in the great outdoors. It is also hoped that VR helps inspire a healthy curiosity and eagerness to learn more about the world and the technological advances that have the power to bring it closer to us, while providing future education and employment opportunities.
According to the kids:
Over the next two months, Cabox Aspiring Geopark and its Drifting Apart VR will be visiting schools located in the Geopark region. To learn more on how your school, class or kids’ group can participate, send us an email with your request. In the meantime, the Drifting Apart VR will be set up for viewing at the Saltbox Restaurant and Cabox Geopark Information Center in Benoit’s Cove.