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Cloud Classrooms- Improving digital education with VR

Virtual Reality has long been introduced as a revolutionary tool in games and entertainment. 3D pushes our minds dimensional limits. The implications for that push are trickling into applicable education and hopefully reversing some of the negative effects experienced through the static screen as we know it. Some of those negative effects include ergonomic poverty leading to postural problems and fatigue. Strained eyes glued to these screens are getting younger and younger and the sticking with computers as they make their way through their adult lives. Recently, New Scientist magazine published an article, Digital Tots: Screens are not all bad, the iPad is today’s novel. In it, Catherine de Lange address some of the early childhood digital learning naysaying. De Lange breaks down electronic interface statistics, citing, “iPads increased cooperation and helped quieter kids speak up. Her research was based on a report by Rosie Flewitt at the Institute of Education in London. De Lange’s research is about the quantified positive improvements of digital interaction. Her article notes that children benefitted from using moth print and touchscreens for looking at or sharing stories, compared with just print. So many possibilities are met in virtual space that a traditional classroom simply can’t trump. We know it’s good stuff, but are we willing to pay with rounded shoulders and worn cervical disks? This is where virtual software can make a difference. Virtual, immersive, learning spaces provide a safe space for varying levels of accessibility. At its best, virtual technology can increase standardized test scores, support the development of early literacy skills, and promotes students’ mastery of mathematical and core science concepts. (O’Donnell, Silver, and Erkins, 2006) Four eyed, second grade me would have appreciated this greatly. I can only imagine what an adjustable screen would have done for my confidence, communication and contribution to my classroom. The zSpace is a leading edge technology that is both hard and software. It allows 3D and holographic educational experiences. zSpace together with Tokyo University’s Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory has recently released a gestural interface that doesn’t include its traditional stylus. Currently, the students of the Los Altos School district of California are living in the educational future. Virtual reality inside and outside of classrooms has been proven to alter behavior and positively influence our learning environments

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