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Louisiana School District Honored For Use Of Augmented And Virtual Reality In CTE During Pandemic

St. Landry Parish School Board Incorporates zSpace in Career and Technical Education Program, Honored with “District of Distinction” Award

Because of its fast and widespread implementation of augmented and virtual reality technology (AR/VR) in the past year, zSpace, a Silicon Valley education company, is proud to honor St. Landry School Board in Louisiana as a “District of Distinction.”

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The St. Landry Parish School Board is the first district in Louisiana to enhance its Career and Technical Education (CTE) instruction with AR/VR including 200 zSpace laptops and teacher stations. zSpace features AR/VR technology built into a Windows 10 laptop and all-in-one PC that creates an immersive and interactive experience where lifelike content seems to “leap out of the screen.” This is particularly helpful for CTE instruction because it allows students to do things that would otherwise be too dangerous, impossible or expensive.

“Nothing replaces hands-on learning, but sometimes we need to fill a gap,” said Michael Carbenia, senior executive director of workforce at zSpace. “The team at St. Landry has done an amazing job delivering meaningful CTE teaching to students during the pandemic, and I know they’ll continue using zSpace even as students return to the classroom.”

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zSpace can be used for remote, in-person, and/or a blended learning strategy. Dr. Therese Ellender, STEAM Supervisor for St. Landry Parish School Board, credits the technology for keeping the district’s CTE program intact and preventing students from losing ground during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“zSpace has been a lifesaver,” said Ellender. “Our teachers have been able to teach and our students haven’t fallen behind. We are better positioned to fully continue our students’ education, better than any other district in the state. I truly feel confident in that statement.”

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zSpace and CTE at St. Landry
St. Landry Parish Schools has a robust CTE program providing students with the ability to earn certifications in HVAC, carpentry, automotive skills, welding and agriculture. As an example, a construction activity may have a student study the components of a typical wall of a home. Using a stylus and special glasses, the student can virtually pull the wall out of the screen and take it apart to see the insulation and electrical conduit inside.

CTE content is built into the zSpace units and is mapped against recognized industry credentials, allowing students to complete tasks and build upon their knowledge in zSpace or in real life. In addition, teachers have the opportunity to customize content by creating personalized videos, building quizzes and using zSpace either synchronously or asynchronously.

Practical Matters: Getting Technology into the Community
Purchasing zSpace units, learning the technology and distributing the laptops and PCs to students and teachers was the first major step of the process. The district’s technology team handled the deployment, drafting a user agreement and offering insurance in case a unit was lost or stolen. Teachers — tech-savvy or not — knew they had to learn how to use the technology for the sake of the program and their students. Luckily, learning to use zSpace is intuitive for both students and teachers.

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