District Showcases VR/AR Platform

District Showcases VR/AR Platform photo thumbnail106107

The district recently hosted representatives from area school districts and representatives from zSpace to share their experiences using the virtual reality/augmented reality computer platform to create lifelike experiences for students.

The zSpace system provides students with a realistic learning environment that aligns to the Next Generation English language arts, math and science standards. The system features virtual-holographic images that can be lifted from the screen and manipulated with a stylus and 3D glasses. zSpace and the Merrick School District partnered to provide a zSpace professional development and feedback session on Dec. 14 at Birch School in Merrick. During the session, attendees offered feedback regarding current zSpace products and zSpace representatives shared information on products in development.

All three Merrick schools (Birch, Chatterton and Levy Lakeside) utilize zSpace computers for STEAM-related lessons in each school’s STEAM Discovery Lab to enhance the current science curriculum in grades three through six. (STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.) Students have explored the lifecycle of a butterfly, rock layers, renewable vs. nonrenewable energy, states of matter, the food chains in an ecosystem and cells. They have delved into the human skeletal, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems as well as performing virtual dissections of the heart

“ZSpace provides engaging experiences for our students and supports their learning and curiosity. It combines elements of AR and VR to create lifelike experiences that are interactive,” Merrick STEAM Coach Jaclyn Greenblatt said. “Students work cooperatively to gather information, observe models, analyze data and develop conclusions. It has been a powerful tool that has truly enhanced student learning in Merrick!”

Merrick is one of the first elementary districts on Long Island to use zSpace technology. In November, the district also hosted local educators to learn more about the district’s use of eSpark, a personalized learning platform that allows students to utilize different online materials and resources for blended learning aligned to leveled reading standards.