This blog post was adapted from an article by Wendy McMahon that appeared on EdSurge. Read the full story here.
Students are surrounded by technology everywhere they go. As technology use increases outside of the classroom, some educators may find that engagement in technology free classrooms is decreasing. Jill Gierasch, deputy superintendent for Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District (POB), recognized this problem when she set out to find new technology to both engage students and prepare them for the future.
“Educational leaders have a challenge to keep students excited and wanting to come to school,” explains Gierasch. “If students have all this technology at home, why would they want to come to school and do a paper-pencil task? Their world is technology right now. We need to keep up with them.”
Gierasch warns that when choosing technology for the classroom, educators need to select technology that can help prepare students for the future and is not just a fad. After careful decision, POB decided to implement zSpace virtual reality (VR) in 2014. “In this case, I do think virtual reality is the future—they are using VR in the automotive industry, and to teach medical students,” says Gierasch.
VR allows students to work on project-based activities, and to help students make connections with real-world professions. Anecdotally, teachers in the district report that students are more engaged in classroom dialogue and ask deeper questions about their learning when using VR.
Hear what students at Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District have to say about using zSpace in this short video.