Westside High School students use virtual reality to improve brain skills

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For several local students, participating in the Peak Performance Camp at Westside High School gave them the opportunity to learn how to deal with stressful situations through the use of virtual reality.

“I only saw VR as games and all kinds of video games as just games, but now I realize they can help you immensely,” said John Van Gelder, a junior at Westside High School.

From athletes to the culinary arts, students like John van Westside are using virtual technology to improve brain skills with a platform called NeuroTrainer.

NeuroTrainer CEO Noah Rolland said they created the platform to be fun and not work, while focusing on the ability to see new choices and new responses and adapt the brain over time. .

“Video games are designed to make you want to play the video game, that’s the end result they’re looking for. Ours are designed to have cognitive enhancements,” Rolland said.

Rolland said using the headsets helps students understand how to improve their focus at school and everyday life. Something incoming junior, Eloise White said she noticed.

“It helps with my focus. We work in a state of flow, so we can easily be calm, but keep our attention on things and be able to complete all the tasks we need to do,” White said.

For an up-and-coming senior, it has helped him focus on his athletics.

“For example, we focus on the mental aspects of sport and I think this mainly allows us to take control of the things we can do and to slow down the game, whichever you play, at your pace. move,” Wesley says. said Okafor.

Westside High School students said they were surprised that the fears of the real world can be addressed in a virtual world.

“I hope to use this as a tool to help me manage my anxiety by focusing on what’s real and what isn’t,” White said.

Eloise who said she has severe anxiety and is surprised by how real the VR experience feels.

“It definitely feels like, ‘Okay, I’m in a new space. This is all real, but I know it’s not,'” said White.

Rolland says the modules in the virtual environment help students cope with the conditions they might face in the real world.

“I always watch their breathing and can control their breathing if they’re in a stressful circumstance or stressful environment in the headset,” Rolland said.

And if they can do it in VR, he said, they have a better chance of implementing those techniques in school. It’s something the students say they want to get the chance to.

Rolland says the vision is to implement this technology in Westside in many ways, including the athletic room, the reading room, and possibly the home to help students compete with what he calls the culture of distraction we all experience today.

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