Students tour mobile virtual reality classroom in Canfield

The Mahoning County Career and Technical Center is going to have the newest zSpace in the brand new STEM academy, opening this fall

Students and teachers toured a mobile classroom that features hands-on learning technology.

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – On Wednesday, students and teachers toured a school bus that provides an interactive, hands-on learning experience.

The big blue bus known as the zSpace is getting a lot of attention. Instead of seats, it has high tech equipment.

“[It] allows students to see and experience different types of technology in a 3D virtual reality environment,” said Jason Hoffman of Buckeye Educational Systems. “Across the United States, you have the Common Core, the next generation science standards, so we look at those standards and then we look at what we can do to provide these hands-on virtual activities as it relates to the standards that the teacher happens to be teaching.”

Students will be able to do biology dissections, explore volcanoes and get a close look at a brain and heart.

“They can also do things that aren’t possible in the real world, like holding on to a beating human heart. They can run a physics experiment on another planet and they can dissect a planet, a dinosaur, an animal or an eye,” said Nick Pinchok. “It really gives kids an engagement, that experiential learning.”

To get the full virtual reality experience, everyone on the tour used 3D glasses.

“The glasses here that the zSpace uses has a series of sensors built into the front of them, and those interact with the sensors that are built into the screen.”

The Mahoning County Career and Technical Center is going to have the newest zSpace in the brand new STEM academy, opening this fall. The Valley STEM + ME2 Academy is currently under construction.

“There are some classrooms that are designed to be collaborative spaces and then there’s a 3,000 square foot lab that students will go into and be able to use 3D printers, laser cutters, anything that is used to make something,” said MCCTC Superintendent Ron Iarussi.

For more information about the Valley STEM + ME2 Academy and the technology it will feature, visit the school’s website.

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