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New Research Reveals Experienced Teachers are More Open to Using New Technology

Award-winning research on 3-D virtual reality presented at Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education

Raleigh, NC

– A National Technology Initiative Leadership Fellows Award winning paper, “Teachers’ Pedagogical Perceptions of Novel 3-D Haptic-Enabled Virtual Reality Technology,” presented today at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) meeting in Savannah, Georgia, revealed that experienced teachers are more open to using new technology. Lead researchers from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University and NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning found that experienced teachers reported greater preference for novel instructional technology than their novice teacher counterparts.

“This preliminary case study research suggests pre-service teachers may benefit from classroom experience to fully understand the potential benefits of introducing new instructional technology tools to their students,” said Rebecca Hite, Ph.D., first author of the research paper and Graduate Research Fellow, the Friday Institute for Education Innovation.

Previous studies have demonstrated pre-service teachers held more readily accepted attitudes towards computer technology as compared to expert teachers. However, when presented with a novel technology such as zSpace® with no prior experience, pre-service teachers in this study showed a stronger preference for hands-on activities as compared to their in-service peers.

“This is counter to what we typically find in the research literature where incoming teachers are thought of as more accepting of novel instructional technologies,” Gina Childers, Ph.D., M.PH. co-author of the research paper and Director, Research and Development at NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning.

Study Design

zSpace® 3-D haptic virtual reality technology was studied among ten teachers; five in-service, full-time classroom science teachers with at least two years of formal middle school teaching experience and five pre-service graduate students in a master’s program in science education.

Each of the ten participants spent three hours of total time interacting with the zSpace® system. This included wearing the eyewear, navigating using the haptic-enabled stylus and manipulating 3-D objects in the virtual space. This self-directed time provided practice moving, rotating, scaling and dissembling objects. Then the participants completed a pre-test on the human heart and circuits.

For two hours, participants were guided through two separate curricular modules exploring the human heart and electrical circuits. Upon completion of their experience, they were given a post-test on the human heart and circuits, respectively and interviewed.

Based upon the initial study findings, sampling from a larger population of pre-service and in-service teachers as well as investigating students’ perceptions of learning with 3-D haptic enabled technologies are currently underway provide more information about science learning experiences with 3-D haptic enabled technologies.

“As more and more schools around the world introduce virtual reality to students and teachers in zSpace labs, it is exciting to know that experienced teachers are poised to embrace the technology to help their students explore and build critical thinking and STEAM skills,” said zSpace CEO Paul Kellenberger. “We look forward to learning more about the challenges and opportunities that all teachers face when integrating virtual reality technology into learning as the researchers at North Carolina State University continue to investigate this area.”

Contact Friday Institute Communications



NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning is a professional services agency focused on developing high-performing schools and school districts nationwide by providing professional learning, leadership development, instructional design and research. Since 2003, NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning has partnered with districts, higher education, businesses and communities to ensure that all students graduate ready for college careers and life. For more information, visit and follow us on social media @ncnewschools.


zSpace is a leading-edge technology provider that delivers a new way of learning with its flagship product, zSpace®. Focused on STEM education, medical instruction, and corporate training, zSpace inspires and accelerates understanding through real world virtual reality. zSpace was named “Cool Vendor” by Gartner, Inc. and awarded “Best New Product” by Tech and Learning Magazine.  zSpace is a privately held, venture backed company located in Sunnyvale, California, and has filed more than 30 patents for its innovative technologies. For more information, visit, or follow on Twitter @zSpace.