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Articles: Virtual

A project by the University of Wyoming allows college students to fine-tune their teaching skills with a roomful of virtual students animated by an actor.

MOBILE PLATFORM—La Joya ISD’s new mobile tech lab brings ed tech and internet access to low-income students in rural areas.

A custom-made mobile tech lab brings tech and internet access to the neighborhoods of low-income students in La Joya ISD (7,000 students) on Texas’ Mexican border.

The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative hopes to build a drone-port and collaborative community workspace atop a coal-mined mountain.

The percentage of Arkansas high school graduates who have taken an AP exam is nearly 50 percent. (Gettyimages.com: baona).

Requiring high schools to offer at least one AP course would help increase rural student access to rigorous pre-college work, according to a recent report.

Educators can find cost-effective solutions in new technologies such as open-educational resources and by partnering with the business community.

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.

In four Utica Community elementary schools in metro Detroit, students as young as 10 manipulate and pull apart the organs of the body, build roller coasters, and design and test 3D prototypes.

With personalized learning on the rise, more K12 educators are looking for learning management systems that easily identify content based on individual student needs.

PINT-SIZE COMPUTERS—First-graders, above, at Elizabeth Forward School District start learning how to think like a computer.

A large gap between the number of computer science graduates and available jobs has led an increasing number of districts to boost instruction in computational thinking.

When Teasley Middle School in Cherokee County, Georgia, opened for the 2013-14 school year, teachers and administrators were looking for an opportunity to help students in grades 6 through 8 better understand STEM learning content. 

Teasley is a Title I school with more than half of its students receiving free or reduced lunch. It also has the highest percentage of English language learners and students with disabilities among middle schools in Cherokee County School District, which has 41,800 students and is 40 minutes north of Atlanta.

School districts are focusing more attention on manufacturing as the need for middle-skill jobs increases.

Hattiesburg School District designs technology training to empower teachers to take charge of their own professional development by letting them decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn it and how. 

WIDER WORLDVIEWS—At Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies in Washington, students Skype with their partner class in Brazil as part of UNESCO International’s Youth Virtual Town Hall on Global Citizenship. They worked on projects focused on sustainability, human rights and other topics.

In rural eastern Kentucky, teacher Jill Armstrong connects her high school students not just with towering historical figures, but also with real-live teens from schools on the other side of the world.

Interest in virtual reality is becoming an increasing reality in public schools as ed-tech companies offer more cost-effective devices.

As we face a new year with a new president, Newsletter Editor Ariana Fine looked back on 2016 to consider the biggest and most influential stories in K12 education. 

(Click to enlarge)

Exciting students about learning is the No. 1 reason schools are experimenting with virtual reality.

It's a rapidly advancing technology the most district expect to use in the near future. 

Other benefits educators have cited?

It reduces the costs of field trips and encourages creativity. 

See the infographic at right—and this related story—for more details.  

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