“Students learn by trying and doing,” the ZSpace homepage narrates. “Students can try and do without fear of breaking materials, spilling chemicals, making a wrong incision, or blowing up a circuit.” Learning through artificial reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) experiences is the main idea behind ZSpace applications. ZSpace functions like a typical desktop computer and combines with the use of lightweight glasses and a stylus to create a three-dimensional experience for the student. The ZSpace software application tracks the user's eyewear and tells the system in real time how to illustrate the object on the screen like a real, tangible object in front of the user. ZSpace software also tracks the stylus, enabling the user to interact with objects projected in the screen. Users can move around and dissect the object before them. ZSpace provides learning experiences for kindergarten through twelfth grade, health-science and medical processes, agri-science, transportation, and advanced manufacturing and skilled trades.
Brownwood High School Health Science Technology Teacher, Annalyn Deen, has been incorporating this advanced training into her classroom after receiving a grant from the Brownwood Education Foundation in 2019. She incorporates the Anatomy program on the computer to help students learn. “The students use it to conceptualize the different body systems,” Deen said. The human anatomy parts, “literally jump off the screen. This greatly increases their understanding of the body system being studied.” Students can see the models in front of the screen and explore all the dimensions of the elements they are studying. This takes the idea of ‘pen and paper’ to ‘tactile object’ for the student. Tabletop virtual reality is transforming education today, and BHS leads the way in innovative education technology.
The Brownwood Education Foundation (BEF) provides grants to teachers so they may incorporate advanced STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives into BHS classrooms. STEM projects engage students’ senses, creativity, and tactile learning practices, which makes learning process more memorable and fascinating to students. The BEF 50x1000 fundraiser provides funds directly to STEM initiatives in Brownwood classrooms. To be a part of this crucial community effort, where 1,000 people each donate $50, visit http://supportbisd.com/50x1000.
Article by: Sara Musgrove
Create and command. This is the basic idea behind the LEGO Mindstorm EV3 Robots, one of the tools used in Brownwood Middle School robotics classrooms. Robotics teacher Melody Smith works with students to help them engineer and engage, create and command. “Students in my class blend hands-on learning with computer-based learning,” Smith said. “Students are tasked with analyzing a problem, building the robot, and creating a program to solve that problem. My second-year students are currently working through a Space Challenge where they have seven different missions they must carry out.” The LEGO Mindstorm EV3 kits contain multiple experiences for students, with various parts that move, roll, grab, or sense. Students piece together the robots and program them to move and perform functions to solve problems.
Enrollment in the BMS Robotics program has increased exponentially in the 2020 school year, and more kits were needed. On Thursday, September 17, Brownwood Education Foundation (BEF) presented a check to Smith for the purchase of additional kits as an extension of the previous robotics grant to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives in Brownwood classrooms. “Robotics and STEM help students thrive by being able to use their creativity and showcase their talents,” Smith said. “I have seen them transform from a shy and introverted student into a team captain. Through robotics, they gain the confidence to trust their skills and learn to express themselves.”
Brownwood ISD provides multiple opportunities for students to engage with unique options for learning, and the Brownwood Education Foundation continues to support STEM initiatives. Along with problem-solving, hands-on learning, and tactical implementation of math and science knowledge, students see rigorous growth in their personal satisfaction in STEM activities. The LEGO kits are just one tool to show students they can create and command. As Smith noted, “The wonderful part of teaching in a STEM classroom is that students are engaged and having fun while preparing themselves to think critically and gain crucial real-life experiences.”
BEF’s 50x1000 campaign provides an opportunity for the community to be involved in supporting STEM in BISD classrooms. The goal is for 1,000 people to donate $50 each, providing a united effort for these donations to fund hands-on, innovative, and creative learning activities. To be a part of this crucial project, visit https://www.supportbisd.com/50x1000.
Article by: Sara Musgrove