Center for Educational Excellence
Center for Educational Excellence
Posted on 03/31/2017
Students wearing virtual reality glasses

Utica Community Schools has been named a Center of Excellence (COE) for its innovation and leadership in providing students with lifelike learning experiences through the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in classrooms by zSpace, Inc., a Silicon Valley education company.

The 28,000-student district is using zSpace technology in four elementary schools, sharing with the company its first-hand experiences and best practices for incorporating AR/VR activities into teaching and learning.  The district’s focus is to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow where virtual engineering and 3D environments will be a part of their everyday lives.  

“The district has become an educational leader in the fields of engineering technology, advanced manufacturing and robotics through its location in the heart of the automotive and defense industries,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “We are instilling the innovation, problem-solving and creative thinking that employers are seeking from today’s graduates.”

zSpace is helping to support the district’s innovation by combining elements of VR and AR, on an all-in-one computer, to create lifelike experiences that are immersive and interactive for students across multiple grade levels and subjects.

The zSpace station is shared by two students in a lab environment. The students mix the real world with the virtual to collaborate on activities ranging from exploring the inner workings of the human heart to designing and building circuit boards or examining the physics of the world’s tallest buildings – all in a 3D virtual environment.

“Our students are curious and engaged in their learning,” Dr. Johns said. “We want our students to become independent learners and continue to be excited about pursuing their interests.”  

 To learn more, watch this video.

“We are proud to recognize Utica Community Schools as a visionary member of the zSpace Center of Excellence Program,” said Paul Kellenberger, zSpace CEO. “Education leaders, such as Superintendent Dr. Johns and the district’s principals, teachers and other educators, are embracing the power of today’s powerful technologies to prepare their students for the future.”