Headlines: When in Rome

Headlines: When in Rome


My name is Aaron Graham. I’m the manager of the Open Lab at Hillman. My name is Marcie Persyn and I’m
currently an assistant instructor in the Classics Department here at the
University of Pittsburgh. The Open Lab at Hillman is a collaboration between the
Teaching Center and the University Library System. We are an academic
makerspace. We put the tools to create projects in the hands of users, train
them to use them so that they can make their visions into a reality. The Roman
Civilization class that I teach begins with the early history of Rome starting
with its its very foundations. In the class, while we discuss history and
cultural devices of the Roman people, we also talk about the buildings. I wanted
to see if I could find a way for the students to engage with the city of Rome
and then I realized that I could actually bring the students into Rome if
I took them into a virtual reality. Marcie’s students were able to use Google Earth
VR and Rome Reborn apps to visit modern day Rome and see what ancient
sites look like in a modern setting. They get to move through the space on their own agency. They get to choose where they look–whether they
want to do a flyover and see the satellite imagery, or whether they
want to drop down and see what the street looks like, or whether they want
to go back in time. They were able to use Rome Reborn to visit recreations of what
those sites maybe looked like in ancient times. This VR class trip was a way to take the students to the city of Rome without
actually having to take the students to the city of Rome. And I think for other
courses there are plenty of apps that would allow them to do similar
compare and contrast experiences or allow students to question what a space
means when they occupy it. You can visit the Great Barrier Reef and see its
deterioration. You can analyze storytelling by flying like an eagle
through post-apocalyptic Paris. I’ve had a great experience collaborating with
Aaron and with the staff here at the Open Lab. Open Lab at Hillman welcomes
faculty, staff, students, and the University community. Come visit us
any time during our drop-in hours. To set up a consultation with one of our staff
members, please visit our website at teaching.pitt.edu/open-lab.

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