Facebook donates $1 million in virtual reality equipment to Arkansas schools

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nearly 300 school across the state of Arkansas will soon receive virtual reality kits for their computer science classrooms.

Facebook announced it will donate $1 million in Oculus Rift-reality headsets to urban and low income schools in Arkansas. Facebook made the decision to launch its Techstart program in the state after the governor’s 2015 initiative to require high schools to offer computer science classes.

Facebook reports the Techstart initiative will enhance computer science education and create interest in the career field.

Among those schools in the River Valley are Mulberry, Mountainburg and Pleasantview.

“I was excited. Then I am thinking, what can I do with that?” said Mulberry family consumer science teacher Nancy Milmon. They are right there when it is happening instead of just watching a video.”

Milmon said she will use the virtual reality kits to teach home economics, job interview skills and for research purposes.

“If you want to go to a field trip to Antarctica but you can’t pay for the ticket, you can take a virtual field trip to Antarctica and do your research,” senior student Gavin Parks said.

Parks is helping set up the equipment and teachers will soon receive training from regional educators. Over 500 Oculus Rift kits have been donated by Facebook and some schools will receive more than one.