Irvine, CA (August 22, 2022) – The Irvine International Academy (IIA) announced that the Mandarin immersion and STEAM charter school has been awarded a $77,504 grant for STEAM education provided by the Larry & Helen Hoag Foundation.
The purpose of the grant is to assist in the purchase of zSpace materials and equipment, which uses augmented reality technology that allows educators and students to interact and manipulate virtual objects in an innovative 360-degree screen projecting experience. The grant also falls in line with Irvine International Academy’s continued focus on STEAM education and project-based learning for all its students.
More important, the use of this unique technology furthers the Academy’s priority to prepare its students to be “global citizens” and equip them with the essential skills needed to thrive not just in the United States, but internationally.
“We think it’s important to emphasize this vision of global citizenship because one day these incredible children will be out in the world and it’s our job to position them best for the future,” said Dr. Stefan Bean, Executive Director, Irvine International Academy. “This grant will help our students get excited about the real-world applications of what they’re learning – whether it’s virtually exploring the human body or virtually creating math solutions – and help them compete in a vast, global community.”
The zSpace curriculum will feature lessons and experiences for each grade level of the school’s K-6 community. Each zSpace learning station features a laptop with reflector tracking points, a sensor module and a stylus that allows students to learn STEAM subjects using immersive images they can move and manipulate.
The grant was made possible due to the generosity of the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation, which supports educational institutions and programs that are creative, innovative, efficient and have an impact on the future of their communities. The Foundation has previously awarded the school grants to acquire musical instruments and library books, support campus safety, and hire teacher aides.
The Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation has also pledged to provide Irvine International Academy’s Parent Teacher Organization a matching grant of up to $25,000 based on donations the PTO can procure. Those funds will go toward continuing to enrich the STEAM labs and education that students currently receive.
“We are very appreciative of the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation’s support of our mission to become the premier Mandarin immersion and STEAM charter school in the region,” said Dr. Bean.
Once the zSpace equipment has been purchased and installed, the devices should be ready for use by students by the end of September.