What is zSpace and how can it help my students?
zSpace is an AR/VR laptop, incorporating the latest user experience technologies to provide students with a new way of learning. By bringing together AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality)
, students are provided with a completely immersive learning experience that is easy to use and easy to build curriculum around. It’s also suitable for students of all ages, from kindergarteners to medical students. This is a totally new way of building and delivering lessons to a classroom. In short, zSpace is technology that students, educators, administrators and IT teams love.
At a glance, zSpace e looks like an oversized tablet, with a thicker, beefier bezel and a heavy duty stand that props the screen up for easy viewing and use. Each workstation also comes with lightweight and comfortable viewing glasses, and a stylus for manipulating lesson objects. Once the glasses are put on, Zspace comes to life. How so?
1. Objects on the screen can be pulled into 3D space – A key feature of all AR technologies is that users can manipulate objects away from the screen. In this way, it’s best to think of the objects as holograms that can be picked up and moved around, rotated, sized up or down or otherwise altered, like changing the object’s color or shape. The object isn’t really there, of course, but users can interact with it as if it was, making for a novel learning experience that encourages students to think and explore.
2. Objects can be viewed from any angle just by looking around – This is where the VR part comes in. Students can examine every object closely by simply turning their head around the AR environment. If a student looks at the object from the side by tilting their head, they will see the side of the object, faithfully represented as if it existed in the real world. Students can get a closer look at any angle by manipulating the object with their hands and getting a better angle.
zSpace also simulates perception of depth, another hallmark of AR and VR technologies. With depth, objects look much like they would in real 3D space, and this illusion further drives student engagement.
3. The provided control peripherals allow for natural movements – The AR and VR experience is shattered if students are forced to use clunky controls in manipulating the environment. Fortunately, the provided stylus is designed for maximum intuitiveness. Most students won’t even have to apply effort in using the stylus after their first session. It becomes part of the user’s hand.
These three features ensure zSpace is one of the most immersive learning experiences possible in the classroom, and students react well to immersion. zSpace has been successfully integrated into many school districts, and improvement in student engagement is a common outcome.
Immersion and novelty, though, are only useful if the technology delivers compelling lessons. zSpace doesn’t disappoint here and is available in a few models, including the AIO (All-In-One) and AIO Pro. The AIO is built with an Intel i3-7300 processor and comes with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, while the AIO Pro is fitted with an Intel i7-7700T processor and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. In both cases, that’s enough punch to create interesting visuals and smooth, responsive interfacing. With that kind of power, it can run a huge variety of lesson content, including K-12, postsecondary, career and medical content. Here’s a closer look:
1. K-12 lesson delivery
– zSpace offers a near endless amount of content for K-12 students, ranging from arts curriculum to technical and science lessons.
For example, Newton’s Park allows students to set up and run physics experiments centered on Newtonian Mechanics. In effect, Newton’s Park is a physics simulator that makes for an almost game-like experience for students. Franklin’s Lab focuses on electricity and provides students with opportunities to build and repair circuits, fix switches and put together a motor using their own virtual workbench. Curie’s Elements provides students with a periodic table to explore and allows students to create elements by dropping in protons, electrons and neutrons. Euclid’s Shapes is for math education, and comes with base-10 blocks, fraction bars, square tiles and more visual learning tools for mathematics. Math education is also emphasized with Geogebra, which uses 3D models to visualize geometry, calculus, algebra and various functions. This is only a fraction of the packaged software. Some of the other software applications cover lesson plans on anatomy, biology, astronomy, geography, literature, engineering, physics, social sciences, arts, music and even content for learning programming, including Unity programming. It’s one of the most forward-thinking, modern educational resources available.
2. Medical lesson delivery – zSpace is also a valuable tool for medical students, as it provides a detailed approach to visualizing the human body and medical concepts. The Human Anatomy Atlas is an award-winning piece of software that acts as a general reference for students, who can explore more than 4,600 anatomical structures in the body, and from every angle.
VIVED Volume is used for looking at and manipulating medical imaging data built in the DICOM format. Students can create their own volumes using their own DICOM libraries. Finally, Virtual ECG gives students valuable practice in placing ECG electrodes and understanding how electrode placement and an ECG strip work together. Students can also look at abnormal ECGs for study.
3. Career lesson delivery – Vocational skills are often overlooked with educational technology, but zSpace offers a few pieces of software for vocational use. For instance, VR Automotive Mechanic gives students a virtual mechanic shop to work in, where they will have to assemble and disassemble automotive components in a completely safe environment. VR Automotive Expert reinforces these lessons with additional lessons and simulations. Wave NG is for welders, with training scenarios for MAG, MMA and welding gestures.
In recent years, classrooms and educators have embraced technology as an important pillar of lesson delivery. zSpace is the pinnacle of this technology, engaging students on a level that is often difficult to achieve, and with lesson content that is relevant and immersive.