The Liberty County School System is growing tech savvier.
In August 2014, the LCSS deployed the Liberty Learning Experience, which allows students in grades four through 12 to participate in a one-on-one iPad learning environment. Students are allowed to take the iPads home for homework, while iPads are made available only in class for prekindergarten through third-grade students.
The iPad initiative has taken off, along with using educational apps, teachers creating their own digital content and other online learning tools.
The district recently went a step further by implementing Vizitech USA’s 3-D lab at Bradwell Institute and Lewis Frasier Middle School, giving students a virtual learning experience.
The interactive lab comes with 3-D tracking eyewear, high-definition display and a stylus for virtual interaction. Students are able to dissect animals or the human body, rotate objects and explore planets.
Currently, the 3-D labs have math and science content, such as anatomy, chemistry and biology, but the district wants to get more content for other subjects, including history.
Lewis Frasier Middle School science teacher Misty Eastlake has been using the 3-D lab with her students and described it as a success.
“So far, it’s been great. It has a lot of seventh-grade and sixth-grade standards, and we’re working on getting more put in there,” she said. “I like it because it gives them that visual interactive experience, where they can actually see a heart and get closer to it now instead of just a picture. It lessens the amount of WebQuests (a web-based learning activity) that we have to use because now we don’t have to. We can just pull up a picture on the 3-D lab.”
Eastlake said it allows the students to do dissections without the expense of buying animals or organs. Some of her students have become interested in the medical field because they are seeing the same things as doctors.
Principal Jermaine Williams said the students are doing well with the labs and easily adapted to the equipment. He said the students enjoy what they’re learning.
In class, Eastlake’s students used the 3-D lab to identify terms related to the human body systems to complete the word list for a word search. Students were pulling apart the skeletal system, viewing a cross-section of the different layers of skin, explored inside the lungs, and rotated around a human body.
Seventh-grade student Alyssa Ovitt, 13, said, “The 3-D lab for me is experiences and being able to have a hands-on sort of project. I can see it on a worksheet, but if I get to experience taking it apart myself, where I’m actually pulling it apart piece by piece, it’s a lot more effective for me.”
Justin Hicks, 13, also a seventh-grader, also likes the virtual interaction.
“You have a lot more to do with this than doing something on paper and writing about it,” he said. “You can take it apart and see all the different things about it instead of something you can just fit on a sheet of paper.”
Ovitt said her favorite subjects so far have been anatomy and zoology. Hicks said he likes zoology because he can see how different animals compare to each other and to humans.
Aneysha Mack, 13, and Andrea Lopez, 12, also in seventh grade, both said the 3-D lab was fun. Mack said she likes that it has a lot of things she can explore. Lopez said it shows a better representation of how things are in real life.
Eastlake is working to get other teachers involved with the lab. She has invited teachers to explore it for themselves. Eastlake said the lab is geared toward math and science, but writing and reading components can easily be incorporated into a 3-D lab lesson.
“We’re excited about it, and the kids are excited about it,” she said.
Labs will be installed at Snelson-Golden Middle and Liberty, Waldo Pafford and Button Gwinnett elementary schools in the next few months.