K–12 School Uses Digital Innovation to Expand Engagement Opportunities

Interactive, virtual displays take students beyond the walls of the classroom.

For schools unable to fund virtual and augmented reality headsets, virtual displays are a good way to expand the walls of the classroom without breaking the bank. 

Schools like San Antonio’s Southside Independent School District use large, interactive screens to engage students who have grown up using similar technology their entire lives. 

“These kids want to come to school because they have things they want to learn about,” Cliff Herring, technology director for Southside ISD told EdTech. “At that age, when they’re 4, it’s kind of hard to pull them away from mom and dad. But when you make the classroom interactive, that’s a driving force for the kid to want to come in. That’s the whole goal.” 

MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how educators are using augmented and virtual reality to teach biology.

K–12 School Uses Displays to Take Students to Space

Southampton Middle School in Harford County, Md., is one of a handful of schools that feature a working planetarium. Until recently, instructors there displayed media only with a desktop projector, which typically made images on the domed ceiling look distorted and washed out

Then the district invested in three new NP-PX602UL laser projectors from NEC, which Planetarium Director Jason Mills integrated with image-blending software and a fish-eye lens to provide a window into the night sky, as well as a 38-foot movie screen. A 65-inch NEC V652 LED display allows Mills to share information with students without turning off projections of the stars overhead.

Students visit the planetarium to work on labs that track the movement of celestial bodies, measure the angular distance between the sun and planets and calculate the mass of the Earth based on the orbit of the moon. They watch videos on astronomy, space travel and more.

“I can put them on the surface of the moon,” Mills says. “It’s not a field trip. It’s an immersive laboratory.”

For more on how schools are upgrading their education spaces with interactive displays, check out K–12 Modern Learning Environments Can Be Built Outside of the Classroom.

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