Vance Virtual Labs Open at VCMS and VCHS
Vance County Schools hosted ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Vance County Middle School and Vance County High School on November 9 to officially open the schools’ “Vance Virtual” or “V2” laboratories.
The laboratories, located in the schools’ media centers, feature approximately 24 digital learning stations each for students to engage in interactive three-dimensional instruction using special computer software applications in a wide range of subject areas including science, health and geography.
The establishment of the laboratories is being made possible through a $400,000 grant awarded to the school system from the Golden Leaf Foundation. The grant was awarded during last school year and following the completion of construction work the laboratories are now open.
“Vance Virtual” has the largest number of zSpace digital learning stations of any school system on the East Coast of the United States and one of the largest deployments of the stations in the nation.
The zSpace STEM Learning Initiative represents a new direction for instructional delivery and academic outcomes for the students in Vance County. This initiative will systematically and intentionally embed the technical and essential skills into our instructional programs to ensure student readiness for the local, regional and global workforce.
The digital student-learning stations will be available for use by students in the middle school and high school, as well as the STEM Early High School.
Teachers will be trained on specific skills to utilize virtual reality technology in the delivery of their individual content areas. Wikis, blogs and an e-lesson repository will be constructed to allow teachers to share and collaborate as they train and implement new strategies. Business and industry partners will engage with our Career and Technical Education program teachers to develop a functional profile of the worker needed to support their industry. These skills and attributes will be embedded in the core competencies and outcomes of each learning module. Students will have direct interaction with virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) software to enhance their level of knowledge, understanding and application of science, career and technology course work.
The school system received valuable support from the Vance County Board of Commissioners for the virtual reality project and the Golden Leaf Foundation grant funding.
“The launch of this project represents a seismic shift in the learning ecosystem of our school district,” said Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools. “This game-changing technology is cutting-edge and provides our students with real-world hands-on opportunities to engage collaboratively, think critically, communicate effectively and create authentically in a rigorous and challenging academic environment.
“Through our Vance Virtual Workforce Labs, we are confident that our students will leave us with the essential skills necessary to effectively navigate and compete in the local, regional and global workforce,” he continued. “This is yet another example of the academic Vanceformation taking place in our schools and in our community. I am indeed Vance County Proud.”
“Students in Vance County Schools are ready to explore science, math and other content areas at a higher level of application in environments that are technology based,” added Dr. Cindy Bennett, assistant superintendent for Student Services and Strategic Planning. “Vance Virtual labs will provide that opportunity with virtual and augmented reality experiences and investigations in an interactive learning environment. As educators, we continue to seek to bring the brick and mortar models of education into the 21st Century. Vance Virtual labs do just that and our students will investigate tomorrow TODAY!”