History is more interesting and engaging when it’s personal, and what’s more personal than stepping back in time as you hear about an event from someone who witnessed it?
Children at the Lewis Palmer Middle School in Colorado Springs recently were able to do just that as they experienced TIME and LIFE VR’s “Remembering Pearl Harbor” – an educational and historical virtual-reality project that takes you back to December 7, 1941. The story is told through the point of view of Lt. James Downing, who at 103 is the second-oldest living American veteran to have witnessed Pearl Harbor. Afterward, the students sent letters about their experience.
The following is a small sample of the students’ comments:
“I thought I was really there. The sunset in the distance made it feel so real. I will remember every detail. . . I will remember this for the rest of my life. I truly understand the loss of Pearl Harbor.”
“The coolest thing I saw was the planes flying overhead.”
“Thank you again for this unforgettable, amazing and fantastic experience.”
“The thing that was meaningful to me was that Jim Downing narrated it because he told the story and went through what happened before, during and after Pearl Harbor.”
“It was very meaningful to me to see the wreckage on the Pearl Harbor scene. It just meant a lot to me because my grandpa had been to war and it’s crazy to see the impact that war can have on an area.”
“I will always remember this experience you brought to my school as well as what it looked like at Pearl Harbor.”
“What was meaningful to me was all the soldiers killed. I thought for a second I was there. How could people do that to people? I think this was a once in a lifetime experience.”
“The coolest thing I did was stand in the harbor and look around to see the ships and listen to what happened on that day.”
LIFE Photo Editor Lizabeth Ronk was thrilled with the students’ responses. “It’s encouraging to see what a great learning experience it was for the students and the value of VR as a teaching tool in the classroom.”
Seeing this unique project come to life has been exciting and rewarding. “Readers look to TIME for the authoritative take on the most important moments in history, and in that sense gives us a great opportunity to create definitive educational VR experiences that can teach students – young and old alike – what shaped the world we’re in today. Remembering Pearl Harbor was a big first step for us into educational VR programming, and we plan to continue creating similarly enriching experiences,” said Mia Tramz, Managing Editor of LIFE VR.
For more about Remembering Pearl Harbor, please visit:
Remembering Pearl Harbor on VivePort