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3-D technology arrives at East Lycoming School District

By Staff | Mar 14, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Senior students from Hughesville High School try out the latest 3-D technology to be part of the new Innovation Center for the 2018-19 school year. Standing is Taylor Mason, and sitting (back to front) are Allena McKinley, Aleshia McKinley and Kendra Smith.

HUGHESVILLE – Students in East Lycoming School District are making tremendous strides when it comes to the latest technology. Board members and members of the East Lycoming Education Foundation were introduced to the new Innovation Center at the high school. This is an actual 3D Virtual Reality Lab and Superintendent Michael Pawlik has taken on the undertaking of raising $75,000 to complete the center by June 30th in time for the 2018-19 school year.

Pawlik discovered the technology from a website ZSpace.com known for its 3 dimensional virtual reality experience that improves student outcomes and increases student engagement “through fearless learning.” It operates on specialized software with interactive stylers. There are lessons available on every topic in the curriculum from pre-K to post secondary.

The company came to the school district to demonstrate all the possibilities on the computers to the administrators and the future of education. According to Pawlik, no other school in the county has accessed this technology. “Now we just have to raise the money to make it happen,” he said.

Pawlik said he has been exploring multiple levels of program categories to engage all learners, including the primary grades. From a teacher’s perspective, Pawlik stated that specific programs can guide students and teachers through the thought process. It was in January when the first computers arrived at the district and “they surpassed all the hype on the internet,” Pawlik said.

He would like to establish a lab with about 30 of these computers. For now he has four of them set up in the district office for teachers, students, board members, and staff to explore.

“This is learning technology, not social media,” said ELSD board member, Donna Gavitt. “Mike is a leader with a vision. This is another tool in a teacher’s arsenal that excites to learn.” Students can guide themselves through the 3-D lesson at their own pace, design a plan on their own computer in AutoCad, save it on a flash drive and bring it to the 3-D reality lab and view it in virtual reality. Using the software they can make necessary revisions. “The learning is exponential,” replied Gavitt.

The media center is being transformed into the East Lycoming Foundation Innovative Center. Ten 3D computers will be placed in one lab off the media center, robotics in another lab and a projected presentation wall will be used for collaborative projects.

“Man, I can’t believe you’re getting all this cool stuff after I leave,” said Rachael Thomas, a senior who will be graduating at the high school, and received a 3-D lesson with student council members.

Students will be able to complete lessons in Ecology, Chemistry, Anatomy, and for elementary reading and writing activities, that when completed, can be emailed back to the teacher for grading.

Construction students can visualize accurate floor plans and structures in 3D along with their blueprints.

The Picture Rocks Lions Club also met with Pawlik and viewed his plans for the computer lab expansion project. Members got a hands-on experience. “I was flabbergasted,” said JoAnn Hall who enjoyed the presentation.

This rapidly arising technology is at the forefront, and East Lycoming School District has gotten a head start on its emergence. “The knowledge and talent needed for workforce demands and post-secondary schools, are the impetus in creating these media spaces to prepare our students for a broad spectrum of choices.”

Muncy Bank & Trust donated $20,000 and Woodlands Bank gave $10,000 towards the project. To contribute to this endeavor, contact Michael Pawlik at mpawlik@elsd.org or donations can be made at the East Lycoming Education Foundation website through the “GoFundMe” campaign, or by mail to East Lycoming School District, 349 Cemetery Street, Hughesville, PA 17737.