There is tremendous enthusiasm for the program, but without a space that teachers can access every day, that does not displace others in the process, the lab won’t be used to its full potential. We’re working on solutions to make this space live on its own by rethinking schedules and sharing classroom spaces for next year. Additionally, we have a video conference center that we want to expand.
To do this work more broadly and to give our students greater ownership and agency in their experiences, we need to make sure that they are media literate and savvy, and have the skills to communicate across difference. We are working now on integrating this kind of teaching and learning into our library curriculum.
The zSpace lends itself to easy integration with the science curriculum, and this virtual lab started with a science teacher, so we’ve seen meaningful work there. The social studies team has also leveraged the space. The other subject-area teams are currently not using the lab frequently. As our access to Nepris and Zoom could expand these opportunities to all subject areas, we’re working to get more teachers across the school involved. In the future, we aim to have every teacher build at least one immersive experience per year for their students.
Last year, our fourth grade class did a conference with the Alaska Sealife Center and had an incredible experience. Since then, we’ve been motivated to think about ways to expand these experiences for our elementary students. We also want to continue to make both students and teachers feel more comfortable using the equipment and software available to them.