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Engaging All Learners: Leveraging AR/VR Tools for Project-Based Learning

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 109AB

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Snapshots are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
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P.S.31Q The Bayside School
Jo Ann was recently honored as a 2023 FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence Finalist, recognizing and celebrating extraordinary public school teachers who inspire learning through creativity, passion, and commitment. A 2019 Big Apple Award Recipient for Teacher Excellence, New York City Schools. 2017 New York Daily News Hometown Hero Nominee for Education. NYS K-12 Educational Technology Specialist. JoAnn Westhall is currently an NYCDOE Computer Science (CS) and Technology Teacher, as well as a CS Instructional Coach and CS4all Teacher Trainer.
Technology Teacher
Cindy is a K-5 technology teacher and the author of a children’s book, “Clara Perseveres.” She loves engaging her students in lessons on computational thinking, digital applied skills, and digital citizenship. She believes that all students should have digital access and computer science lessons. Cindy is also a Certified Google Trainer and Innovator. She has presented at ISTE19, CS4All TeacherCon, CSTA, and #NYCSchoolsTech Summit and awarded the NYC DOE Excellence in School Technology Award Winner 2021 and the FLAG Award Finalist 2022.

Session description

Discover innovative ways to leverage AR/VR tools rooted in collaborative project-based learning that support student-created presentation spaces for integrated technology and computer science instruction. This session will showcase student projects that integrate ELA, social studies, digital citizenship and CAD (computer-assisted design) skills. Project models are CoSpace created.

Purpose & objective

Teachers often express difficulties bridging language and learning barriers in diverse classrooms while maintaining engagement and intrinsic motivation. These barriers can be difficult to overcome while it is imperative that students be able to demonstrate and engage in learning in a way that connects to 21st century learning technologies. Employing AR/VR tools as an alternative presentation platform is a highly motivational and effective way for students to share their work with a global audience. The employment of CAD (computer assisted design) tools and the integration of Computer Science within a collaborative workspaces present the perfect opportunity for students to take risks in communication. 3-Dimensional, object oriented workspaces open up opportunities for learners to collaborate in a shared space to develop “soft skills” associated with the design process. Simultaneously these tools help support and integrate ELA and mathematics content areas.
This session on integrating AR/VR tools within PBL projects will provide participants with tools and strategies to support equity for all learners; exploring multiple modes of instruction throughout the project design process. Participants will gain new insight into how the structure of lessons using AR/VR tools can support differentiation and fuel immersive content acquisition, as well as determine what supportive feedback tools and formative assessment will work best for their students in support of this work. These tools provide a student centered approach that helps foster an inclusive and accepting learning environment that encourages members of the community to support one another in risk taking associated with problem solving while engaging all members in the same content.
This model has been used successfully within our own upper Elementary Classrooms in the New York City Department of Education. The work has been documented through photographs, video, published online artifacts and lessons that will be shared with participants.
Students participated in #DigCitCommit and showcased their projects,“Students Design and Code Interactive Digital Citizenship Galleries to Raise Awareness Around Digital Citizenship Issues” during Digital Citizenship week.

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The presentation will provide a brief overview of the CoSpaces AR/VR design space with supporting technology tools for feedback. We will examine multiple examples of presentation spaces, features that support project based collaboration and the ongoing role of teacher as facilitator. We will identify embedded integration points for ELA, Math, Computer Science & other content areas. We will showcase how this space can support multiple pathways for learners across a diverse student population while maintaining a rigorous approach to instruction for all students.

Presentation Time (20 minute Snapshot) The presentation will be provided using Google Slides or alternatively Powerpoint with Microsoft Presenter Translator to support diverse languages in the audience.

5 min.: Introduction- This presentation provides an overview of AR/VR design spaces and their utilization during project based learning with a focus on Computer Science and the creative lens for students. Learn how to captivate your students’ interests and keep them engaged.

10 min.: We will examine student designed presentation spaces from grades 3-5 using CoSpaces and other tech tools, that embody project based collaboration and the ongoing role of teacher as facilitator. A brief walk through of the process leading to culminating projects will be illustrated and defined. Additionally, examples of supporting tools for assessment/development will be shared alongside student samples .

5 min: Participants will be encouraged to explore the AR/VR design space by joining a virtual classroom within a CoSpace Gallery to explore the multimodal design properties. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to interact with presenters in live time using supportive technology tools for feedback.

The presentation and supporting materials will be shared to participants using a address so that they will have the opportunity to follow along and/or turnkey to others after the conference.

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Supporting research

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Session specifications

Augmented, mixed & virtual reality
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Optional applications-
Subject area:
Computer science
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Coaches:
Change Agent
  • Facilitate equitable use of digital learning tools and content that meet the needs of each learner.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.