VR App Teaches Students How To Navigate The Ocean

The program was developed using star images from NASA.

An educational VR experience called Kilo Hōkū (Navigating the Stars) is being used as part of Punahou School’s “Voyaging at Punahou” program to teach students how to navigate open waters using practical star navigation methods.

“The VR program puts students out at sea,” said Taryn Loveman, director of Design Technology and Engineering. “You can control the time of year and latitude, navigate to different places, and advance time to see the stars change.”

According to The Magazine of Punahou, students set sail on a virtual Hōkūleʻa, a double-hulled voyaging canoe, and travel to various locations with only the stars in the sky to guide them. The program is currently being tested by select students at Punahou School. Loveman hopes that the program will serve as a model for future initiatives of this sort.

The program was originally developed by a computer science graduate based out of the University of Hawai‘i using actual star images from NASA. Punahou faculty has since been working with software programmers from the University of Hawai‘i to develop numerous updates catering specifically to its Voyaging students.

Credit: Punahou School

“Our intention with this project is to bridge traditional knowledge with new technology while maintaining the important teacher-student relationship and also expanding access to this valuable experience and knowledge,” Loveman added.

Those interested in learning more about the program can reach out to the team over at

Feature Image Credit: The Magazine of Punahou

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Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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