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Southern University to Boost VR Teacher Training, Broadband Access

Southern University in Louisiana will use a $6.2 million grant to expand broadband Internet and create interactive VR spaces and tools for the training of future middle-school teachers and university faculty.

(TNS) — Students at Southern University will have the opportunity to engage in an expanded virtual learning experience soon thanks to a $6.2 million grant awarded to the university for virtual reality equipment, increased broadband Internet access and more.

Southern will use the grant to expand virtual immersion teacher training at the Lab School. Aspiring educators there can get hands-on, real-world experience through VR headsets.

The funds will support the Southern University Reaching Across the Digital Divide (SURADD) project, which aims to close the digital divide by forming a K-12 workforce pipeline to engage middle school teacher candidates, clinical educators, and university faculty and students with interactive VR spaces and tools in innovative instruction efforts and workforce training.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Southern the funds as part of the Connecting Minority Communities, or CMC, program that will direct a total of $268 million to expand high-speed Internet access and connectivity to colleges and universities.

"Southern University has always been on the cutting edge, and today's award will help to ensure that it stays that way," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "It was the first institution in Louisiana that aspiring Black teachers could attend, and today, it's preparing the next generation of teachers with the latest technologies like virtual classrooms."

©2022 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.