Dissecting 3D frogs? Mobile classroom impresses at Andrew Jackson

zSpace mobile classroom offers virtual reality take on STEM learning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There was an unusual addition to the school buses that showed up Friday to Andrew Jackson High School. It was a mobile classroom equipped with virtual reality technology to help students learn.

Using the technology on board, students got a hands- and glasses-on experience unlike any other they’re likely to see at school.

The company behind the state-of-the-art classroom, zSpace, said thousands of students are already using its program for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, learning.

The technology offers students the chance to do classroom activities, such as dissecting frogs, without getting their hands dirty. That’s good news for sophomore student Britany Rogers.

"I would get a bit grossed out, but looking at it like this, it’s more interesting to me because I don’t have to touch it," said Rogers. "Because I love animals."

That also means no messy labs to clean up. As zSpace regional sales director Kristine George pointed out, students can "go inside, look around, dissect and click a button and put it all back together."

It’s also a hit with the students who got to try it out. They told News4Jax this approach to hands-on learning is more effective than traditional studies.

"It has an element of fun to it, instead of flipping through the pages of a textbook," said sophomore Micah Riggins.

Added Rogers: "It’s like a completely different experience than looking at it on paper. You can turn it to get different points of view and different perspectives."

School administrators said they appreciated the company's visit, and noted they are open to new ways of expanding course and program offerings for students.