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SPARK School Using VR to Revolutionise Teaching

SPARK School students at the Kyrene de las Manitas Elementary school are rethinking curriculum modules with the aid of technology such as virtual reality (VR), robots, 3D printers, and green screens. The technology forms are being utilised to teach lessons on subjects such as science and maths. SPARK is an innovative and specialised educational programme hosted on the institution of the campus.

Mary Brown, the Teacher Executive Designer at the school said that different elements are being blended to create an atmosphere of learning. She revealed that the programme features 3-D printer devices, the Sphero app for code learning and practice, and virtual reality. Brown remarked on how VR allowed people to visit places that they normally would not be able to travel to. She gave an example saying students can visit a place like the Amazon rainforest to explore it in virtual reality and make a note of things like scientists do.

According to Brown, the classroom plan redesigning contributes to better retention of teachers, along with raising the engagement and thrill of the students. Brown has come across many aspects of education that seemed daunting to her in the past. She considered the Spark VR opportunity as a way of solving almost all problems in the education industry. Brown intends to use cutting-edge technologies to reformulate education, enhance teacher cooperation and revitalise learning in a way that raises the excitement of students.

Image source: Techworld

The SPARK School programme involves using a more customised approach to teach the key lessons of science, maths, social studies, and language arts. Teachers are acknowledging how interactive education technology is more effective in raising engagement among students both within and outside the classroom, compared to tests and books.

Neftali Rivera, a third-grade student of the school revealed that he and his classmates were gaining knowledge about mock trials. He elaborated, stating that an attorney had recently visited them and answered several of their questions. Rivera is one of the jurors in a soon-to-be-held mock trial on language arts. He and his partners are reading up and expanding their knowledge about their case, called SeaWorld v. The State. He said that the name of the programme being changed from The Imagine to SPARK was a favourable move.

The science students of the project are working on weather research and creating a weather report. Audrey Colbert, a fourth-grade science student, revealed that they were creating a script for a feature about how to become a meteorologist, which would be showcased across a green screen. Colbert believes that SPARK is a cutting-edge offering as it lets students use their computers regularly.

Brown admitted that the change in teaching methods has been challenging, and her team was handling it step-wise. Brown also revealed that the biggest hurdle in using SPARK is getting back to the principles of design. She and her co-workers are putting in efforts to create more personalised experiences for the students. She emphasised that SPARK does comply with the academic standards of Arizona, despite being different from a conventional classroom.

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