South Orangetown Central School District

South Orangetown Middle School Enrichment and Technology teacher Andrew McIntosh partnered with Texas Tech University Assistant Professor of STEM Education Rebecca Hite, Ph.D. on research to quantify student growth in “soft skills” when working on complex engineering projects with augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) technology. Their recently published findings demonstrate that AR/VR technology had a significant impact on augmenting several skills, including creativity, critical thinking and grit.

SOMS first introduced AR/VR technology in 2017 with the installation of six zSpace workspaces in the Challenge Lab. Since then, the school has opened a dedicated lab with 31 workspaces. Teachers across grades and subject areas integrate mixed-reality technology into lesson plans to create immersive educational experiences for students.

“This case study provides valuable insight into how students are developing transferable life skills from their experience with innovative technologies, such as zSpace. In the SOMS zSpace Lab, students interact with the content in real-time while developing college- and career-readiness skills,” McIntosh said. “I’m grateful for the collaboration with Dr. Hite and for the support of my colleagues.”

Teacher Andrew McIntosh demonstrating use of zSpace