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Students learn about Oklahoma City bombing through new tech

September 24, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Modesto Noriega’s eyes were fixed on his iPad. One by one, disturbing images of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building flashed before him.

“It makes me sad,” said Modesto, 14, a ninth-grader at U.S. Grant High School. “What happened to the people and what the guy did — it makes me not want to do bad stuff.”

Modesto and two dozen of his classmates were among the first to use technology that combines artifacts from the bombing with digitally created content, photos and video stories of family members, survivors and rescue workers.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum launched the Augmented Reality experience recently inside the media center at Grant in south Oklahoma City.

It is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the memorial and the museum before they visit as part of the memorial’s Called2Challenge program for ninth-graders in the Oklahoma City district and those who attend private schools in the city.

“We are teaching a generation of students who didn’t live this story but are impacted by it all of their lives,” Kari Watkins, the memorial’s executive director, told The Oklahoman . “This AR interactive experience not only helps tell our story, but challenges curiosity and encourages critical thinking, allowing students to become more engaged in their own learning.”

In the last three years, more than 3,300 ninth-graders have visited the memorial, museum and Uncover-Discover Lab — a classroom where students learn about forensics and engineering related to the investigation and recovery efforts after the bombing — free of charge.

Students recently passed from one table to the next, fixing their tablets on modules that include lessons about hope and healing, homegrown terrorism, and forensics.

Shards of glass decorate one of the modules. A part recovered from the rented Ryder truck that contained the bomb decorates another.

Sinai Puerto, 14, watched as survivors shared their experiences.

“I feel bad for them and all the things they’ve been through,” she said. “I knew about it, but I didn’t know any details about it.”

A $75,000 grant from Google paid for the devices, training and software.

“This is just getting them prepared because most of the ninth-graders have not been to the museum,” said Lynne Porter, the memorial’s director of educational experience. “This kind of gives them a little bit of background before they come.”

Principal Greg Frederick has visited the memorial and museum on several occasions. He said the bombing will never be forgotten in Oklahoma City.

“This is really cool,” he said of the new technology. “I like it because it’s interactive, and these guys, they don’t want to be sitting and learning it from a textbook. They want to be up and moving it around. It’s a great precursor to them going to the memorial itself.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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