The future is now at Pine Valley

Photo from This photo from shows a student being able to hold, rotate and dissect a human heart right in front of him, without actually touching it but still being able to see everything.

SOUTH DAYTON — Pine Valley is looking to the future in considering zSpace — virtual reality learning that creates life-like experiences to immerse students in learning.

The video Scott Payne, PV superintendent, showed, said incorporating zSpace into a curriculum will “inspire a new passion for learning, revolutionize the education experience, and empower curiosity in the classroom … (it is) interactive, intuitive, collaborative.”

The board took the program for a test run  at the New York State School Board Association conference, and said it is revolutionary, new, exciting and exactly what students of the upcoming generation need.

“In terms of changing how we’re teaching and learning, we need to become much more savvy. We tend to teach… in the ways that we were taught as kids, and what we often continue to do is teach in the same way that we’ve been teaching for the last 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years,” said Payne.

This is true. For example, a study was done asking teachers why they taught students to put two spaces at the end of a sentence, when that method of typing was phased out years ago. Their answer? “It’s just how I was taught.”

ZSpace is also highly applicable for STEM subjects, an area of learning that has been rapidly growing with no near signs of stopping.

“The thing that we’ve been talking about, and that we will talk about through the budget process and certainly in our upcoming budget workshop when we talk about the instructional piece, is how can we create a maker space, a maker space that includes zSpace computers for our kids that we can enhance from a STEM perspective the instruction that’s occurring. How can we do things with LEGO robotics at an elementary level, and can we build things using a 3D printer?” Payne asked.

School board president Patricia Krenzer agreed with Payne, and said having been a teacher for so many years, she understands how teaching and education is constantly changing, and the materials used in learning need to reflect that.

“I taught for many years, and I love teaching but I realize that my audience today would be so different than my audience was even 10 years ago. The kids that we teach today are used to technology from the time they get up to the time they go to bed. It’s rare to hear kids read a book in book form. Mostly everything is done on the internet. That’s not the first place I go when I do things but it is the first place that our kids go to and unless we provide education the same way that they’re used to learning, then we’re kind of behind the times,” said Krenzer.

“So rather than pick up something just because it looks like a hot item, we’re looking for items that we know will actually generate their interest. The first thing I thought of was the dissection lab … forget the smelly old frog, we’re talking about dissecting a human being or — I did a heart, and the heart was actually beating in my hand through the stylus and I could open up the heart and I could rotate it and see all the sides of it,” shared Krenzer. “That’s absolutely amazing to me… Even though we live in Pine Valley, seemingly apart from the rest of the world, we can bring the world here and it’s amazing to me that we have these opportunities.”