Learning moves to virtual reality in Florida

By Brittany Shammas, Sun Sentinel
January 20th, 2016


Schools in some Florida districts are experimenting with new virtual reality labs

Wearing 3D glasses and sitting in front of oversized computers, the Everglades Elementary students used a pen-like tool to “grab” a model of the earth on their screens and pull it closer and closer until it seemed to leap out at them.

“Oh my goodness!” cried the thrilled third-graders at the West Palm Beach school.

It was their first time immersed in virtual reality, technology that’s just beginning to be used as a learning tool in South Florida classrooms. A few dozen schools from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County are in the early stages of implementing it into their curriculum.

Developed in 2013 by a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company called zSpace, the computers and glasses can transport students to Washington, D.C. to check out monuments or to the inside of a human heart. It can be used to simulate dissecting animals or peeling back the layers of the earth.

Next page: How students in different programs are using zSpace