District Administration June 2017 - 31

High school students typically
don't dissect human cadavers, but with
zSpace, they can explore the body's musculature, skeleton, circulatory system,
lungs, brain, nervous system and digestive tracts in detail.
They can separate the organs, rotate
them in space and put them back again.
And unlike physical dissections that
require specialized tools and storage, virtual dissections can be performed again
and again.
In other places, high school students
are leading the way in VR design. At
Palmer High School in Colorado Springs
School District 11, Sean Wybrant (the
state's teacher of the year) prepares students for careers as VR developers.
One student built a virtual periodic
table that users can shuffle through.
Another has created a virtual gallery
of students' digital artwork that can be
viewed with an Oculus Rift.
And a team of students is designing
a mixed-reality game for the Microsoft

STAR POWER-VR platforms allow students to do the impossible, such as closely
examine the sun and other objects they would never otherwise learn about or
encounter in life.

Hololens headset that, with a blending of
the virtual and the real, will teach players
about light.
Wybrant says that neither he nor his
students had any previous VR programming experience. They've been learning
together via trial and error, and outreach
to experts. "Even if virtual reality isn't

a space where you feel comfortable,"
Wybrant says, "your discomfort can't be
the thing that prevents kids from reaching their potential." DA

Jennifer Fink is a freelance writer based in
Wisconsin.

zSpace brings VR to the classroom
Imagine being able to reach out, touch and manipulate an
object you've designed - before the object exists physically in the real world. That's the premise and promise
of virtual reality, and it's something a company called
zSpace offers classrooms around the country.
With zSpace, students and teachers can "lift" digital
objects-such as a human skeleton-from the screen
and manipulate them in three dimensions, but without any
messy, real-world consequences. It's the kind of thing
video game developers and techies have envisioned for
years, but with one important difference: zSpace was
designed, from the start, to be an educational tool.
"That vision was there from the very beginning," says
Elizabeth Lytle, director of education and product experience for zSpace.
In fact, zSpace worked with educators in the Los Altos
School District-the same California district Sal Khan
worked with while developing the Khan Academy-as
they were developing and refining hardware and software. "We've also had teachers involved in creating

www.DistrictAdministration.com

learning activities within zSpace since the beginning,"
Lytle says.
Natalie Mondesir, a fourth-grade teacher in Liberty
County School District in Georgia, traditionally has her
students demonstrate their understanding of geometry
and forces in motion by designing roller coasters on
paper. With zSpace and a program called Newton's Park,
her students can create and test their roller coasters in a
virtual environment that also allows them to change the
mass of objects and even the pull of gravity. Now she has
her students test their roller coasters in zSpace before
building small, real-world replicas-just as many automotive and mechanical designers do today.
Timothy Selgrat, a seventh- and eighth-grade STEAM
facilitator at Carleton Washburne School in Winnetka
Public School District 36 in Illinois, says some previously
disengaged students have come alive when working with
zSpace. He attributes this partially to the "wow" factor
of the technology and also to the experiential aspect of
zSpace. "It's virtual, but still hands-on," he says.

June 2017 31


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration June 2017

District Administration June 2017 - Cover1
District Administration June 2017 - Cover2
District Administration June 2017 - 1
District Administration June 2017 - 2
District Administration June 2017 - 3
District Administration June 2017 - 4
District Administration June 2017 - 5
District Administration June 2017 - 6
District Administration June 2017 - 7
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