CVHS students study anatomy and physiology using virtual reality technology

Conestoga Valley School District  |  Posted on

High school secretary, Marilyn Martin, examines a human heart on the zSpace virtual reality device.

Instead of learning anatomy and physiology by simply studying a textbook, students at Conestoga Valley High School will get to interact with a 3D model of the human body thanks to three brand-new zSpace virtual reality devices, which give students a hands-on approach to STEM learning.

Conestoga Valley is the first district in Lancaster County to acquire the zSpace technology. The technology is currently being used in CVHS’s Anatomy and Physiology classes, with plans to expand its use to other STEM courses in the future.

“Instead of studying the human heart in the pages of a textbook, students can interact with a virtual heart that pops out of the screen,” said Dr. Dan Daneker, CV supervisor of science and technology education. “It’s an immersive experience where students can work together and collaborate.”

This collaboration is especially prevalent when the zSpace devices are used as part of CV’s new rotational learning model. In this learning model, students rotate among three stations in the classroom: a small-group direct instruction, an independent study and a collaborative study. In the collaborative study groups, one student sits in the “driver” seat of the zSpace technology while the others wear 3D glasses and help him or her navigate in the virtual scene.

The devices were provided through a grant by the Conestoga Valley Education Foundation (CVEF). CVEF receives funding through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), which credits businesses up to 90 percent of their donations (while funds last), local fundraising initiatives such as the Clark Foundation’s Derby Day and the CVEF Golf Classic, and private donations.