Lake-Lehman board approves 3-D, virtual-reality software

LEHMAN TWP. — A three-dimensional, virtual-reality software package will give students an opportunity to explore a variety of topics from biology to mechanics, Lake-Lehman Superintendent James McGovern said Monday.

The district’s school board authorized leasing a learning platform called zSpace at the cost of $23,995, plus shipping, for a year, making it the first district in the region to acquire the program, McGovern said.

“There are about 300 schools nationally that use zSpace,” he said.

The libraries at Ross, Lehman-Jackson and Lake-Noxen elementary schools will have one zSpace computer and the high school will have four, McGovern said.

“What it is — students are able to take programs and 3-D imagery and through the use of a stylus pull apart and rotate 3-D images,” McGovern said. ” I was able to take a picture of the (human) spine, rotate it, and see how it all connected and see how the nerves connected. You can do that with an eyeball, with a volcano.”

The zSpace equipment will be installed in each school’s library at stations called “thinker spaces,” which can accommodate up to three students at a time, he said.

“It is a whole new concept of a library that we are promoting to inspire intellectual curiosity,” said the superintendent. “We will be teaching students how to think, not what to think.”

The options are endless, said Brian Pipech, director of pupil services.

Pipech was introduced to zSpace through a think-tank group, McGovern said.

“I was skeptical at first, but when they did the presentation here, I was blown away,” recalled McGovern. “I learned more — I could have read for three days about the spine that I learned in 20 minutes on my own.”

The zSpace technology installation and staff training will be completed before the first day of school, Pipech said.

In other news:

• School board member Karen Masters said the anonymous donor who gave over 200 backpacks to the district to help financially stressed families…

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