Real World Virtual Reality

FireShot Capture 197 - zSpace Product - http___zspace.com_product


By definition the real world is not virtual reality and virtual reality is not the real world. That’s why it’s virtual reality and not real reality. It’s either one or the other.

But this doesn’t stop the educational marketeers from trying to get our local school districts to buy lots of 21st-century! stuff from them, and which is exactly what the BUSD agreed to do last week:

The Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) recently received $1,115,750 for the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG). The grant is to maintain and expand Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways with the goal of providing high quality CTE programs to all students. The BUSD plans to expand the CTE pathways by adding two new strands: Engineering and Design; and, Health Science. The Engineering pathway will begin in the fall with Introduction to Engineering. In order to support the new engineering and health science pathways the District plans to purchase five zSpace computer labs for John Burroughs High School, Burbank High School, Jordan Middle School, Luther Burbank Middle School, and John Muir Middle School. The zSpace computers have virtual programs that allow students to experience lesson in a 3-D environment. For example, it allows students to look inside a beating heart and pull apart the different pieces to see how they function and put them back together again. It also comes with curriculum to support all of the technology. In addition, the zSpace computers have small engines and robotics modules.

Interesting idea, but when will this purchase prove to be obsolete? Not doubt too soon. And the District is planning on spending over $300,000 on these “collaborative” beating heart/pull apart labs.

Our suspicion of how gimmicky this can be isn’t at all relieved by the hype:

Works the way people work

The zSpace system integrates into your normal life with desktop virtual reality that allows you to seamlessly move in and out of zSpace back to the real world. This experience is enabled by a unique combination of high definition stereopsis, integrated head tracking with full motion parallax and a precision interactive stylus.

Although our critics might disagree, we don’t normally move in and out between the real world and virtual reality.  We don’t even know what that means. But it must have sold someone.

The BUSD is also farming out the development of some of their new STEM curriculum to an outside concern. It’s only costing about $40,000, and (sadly) this is the way of the future everywhere. No more will a Bert Hagg or a Bob Allen (or a Miss Smiley for that matter) be designing their own Burbank schools STEM-like curriculum or lesson plans.

Remember Hagg’s “Math Logic,” anyone, that old BHS summer school class based upon the simplified Polish Notation developed for the game “Wff ‘N Proof? Allen’s brother came up with the game when he was teaching at Yale Law School, and Hagg later ingeniously ported it over into our Burbank schools.

Those days are long gone. Everything’s uniform and automated now. And of course, overwhelmingly collaborative.

Creating “A-Ha!” moments around the room is the obvious goal. Er, lab.






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6 responses to “Real World Virtual Reality

  1. chad

    Things to be concerned about. 1) Can the teachers teach this technology? 2) How quickly will these work stations need software and OS upgrades and how much will it cost? What are the long term upgrade and maintenance costs?
    Folks, the human heart works the same whether you study it in virtual 3D or not. The more important “SLO” (student learning outcome) is that you get the students to the point where they know how the heart works. I suspect you can teach that just as effectively with a plastic heart model that you can pull apart and put back together. (That was cutting edge technology at one point.) Maria Montessori would have preferred the “real” model you can hold as opposed to the virtual 3D one.
    The bottom line in a lot of this is that the education market is vast and companies know there’s big profit to be made. The question is how good are the BUSD decision makers in discerning what is rapacious profit motive vs. genuine educational aspirations.

  2. Dina

    Although it was a long meeting Tuesday Night, the discussion on various Rate Hikes was very revealing.
    That Luggage Lady Luddy (why is her mic sooo loud) made her contempt for the Ratepayers very clear.
    She went after Dr. Gordon and then took shots at Bob Frutos.
    The Three Stooges (Luggage, Stutterer and Puffer Fish) rubber-stamped the staff Party Line, at our expen$e.
    Nolan raised a Big point, how much money does the General Fund need to pay back to the Water Fund?
    They never answered in a cogent manner.
    We lost the case after stalling for over a year. He’s right.
    Why not pay it all back now, if the Water Fund is so short?
    No, the “Stooges” stick it to us , again.

    • Beth

      That’s right, Dina.
      Mike asked about the pay back.
      Staff claimed that the Water Fund was “drawn down, dangerously low”.
      Why not pay back what the General Fund owes the Water Fund?
      Who believes that they “forgot” about being caught, and settling.?
      City Hall owes the money to the Water Fund.
      Pay it back, now.

  3. chad

    This really is a vicious cycle we’ve been drawn into.

    • Toad

      Chad its a circle that will lead to our demise if we don’t break the circle of stupidity. We really do have stupid people running things.

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