Santa Rita Elementary fourth grade students presented at a San Angelo Rotary Club meeting on February 25, 2022 together with SAISD Digital Innovation Facilitator Brandon Ligon, and shared information about zSpace augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology and how it is integrated into student learning experiences. The student presenters, Maddox Carr, Garrett Fletcher, Brynleigh Lankford and Kinlee Thomas, are zSpace Student Ambassadors, a group of student leaders selected for special training in zSpace to help support their peers and teachers in using the technology.
Following the presentation, the zSpace Student Ambassadors assisted Rotary Club members in a trial use of the zSpace technology, providing helpful guidance as members explored zSpace capabilities first-hand like dissecting a 3D AR/VR human heart and a monarch butterfly. Student Ambassador Kinlee shared this with Rotary Club members about her experience with zSpace, “I am so excited to teach y'all today, because I love to teach people new things... zSpace is so fun and exciting, and l love to see people experience it for the first time. When I experienced it for the first time, I felt really happy and excited so I’m hoping to see some of y’all be happy and excited too.”
SAISD is proud to empower our students like these zSpace Student Ambassadors to be an active part of the integration of technology into student educational experiences, and to bring digital learning opportunities like this to our students. The District created a vision for the successful implementation of the zSpace AR/VR technology into our coursework starting with an initial focus on 3rd through 5th grade use at the three district magnet campuses of Fort Concho, Holiman and Santa Rita Elementary. SAISD has now expanded use of zSpace to our middle schools and some of our high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses like Health Sciences.
Speaking at the Rotary Club Meeting, Mr. Ligon shared this example of student use of zSpace from personal observation, “I have been in middle school science classrooms where they are learning about body systems, and being able to pull apart the human body in front of them [virtually] and take pieces apart and really get in there and examine… Just watching students light up. As a teacher, you get that little joy when you hear students say things like ‘Oh wow, that’s so cool’ and ‘I didn’t know that looked like that’ …When you hear those kinds of words, you know that true learning and true engagement is happening. zSpace, along with many of our other programs, is doing just that.”
zSpace combines elements of AR and VR to create life-like experiences that are immersive and interactive, and is one more way we are incorporating the SAISD Learner Profile attributes of creator, collaborator, communicator and critical thinker into the classroom. Students learn by asking questions, gathering information, developing models, testing ideas, analyzing data, and developing conclusions. Educators facilitate learning by setting up tools and resources that help students through the lesson.
SAISD looks forward to continuing to provide students with innovative learning experiences using zSpace, and applauds our zSpace Student Ambassadors for helping fellow students, teachers and our community learn more about this exciting technology. To stay up-to-date on San Angelo ISD, please visit the SAISD website at www.saisd.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.