ASU Prep Digital, Google partner to develop universally accessible streaming curriculum

July 14, 2022

ASU Prep Digital, an accredited, online K–12 school offered through Arizona State University, has partnered with Google Public Sector to make remote immersive learning technology more accessible to students across the United States and around the world.

ASU Prep Learning Cloud is a streaming solution that empowers schools to deliver innovative and interactive 3D learning experiences to students using low-bandwidth devices. The technology was developed on and is powered by Google Cloud. Man looking at a small globe. Download Full Image

This new platform invites students to solve challenges by immersing themselves in interactive settings made possible by technology. Students can watch geologic formations emerge through simulations rather than reading about it in a textbook, or explore human organs in 3D, brining topics like erosion, hydrolysis and human anatomy to life.

To successfully complete a lesson, students must think critically about the concept, explore it and learn through discovery. Real-time, instructive feedback also helps contribute to a more individualized learning experience.

"We’re turning students into explorers by embedding learning into the digital formats that students love,” said David Sudarma, ASU Prep’s chief technology officer. “We spark curiosity by asking students to navigate 3D worlds, hypothesize and discover knowledge by manipulating game-like simulations to solve real-world problems.”

Advancing accessibility

The ASU Prep Learning Cloud represents an important step toward accessibility for students in rural areas, with limited broadband access, and districts where limited technology funding makes it difficult to deliver cutting-edge learning opportunities. This immersive cloud-based education technology can be experienced from mobile devices or Chromebooks, increasing accessibility for all learners, anytime, anywhere. Removing those barriers is especially important for a program like ASU Prep Digital, which can be instrumental in bridging gaps for districts where resources are slim.

“ASU Prep Digital has allowed us to partner and advance educational opportunities for thousands of K–12 students who might not have otherwise had access to the courses, credits, mentors and teachers we offer,” said Arizona State University President Michael Crow, who is widely known as a pioneer of online education.

Crow’s vision has created a tech-enhanced learning environment across ASU, inclusive of pre-collegiate students via ASU Prep Digital. A key element of that vision is expanded opportunities in online education, which offers a path to higher education for students who are otherwise hindered from pursuing their education goals. In addition to its rapidly expanding K–12 enrollment, ASU Prep Digital’s School Partnerships continue to grow. The program supports entire school districts in states like Utah, Louisiana and Ohio, as well as schools in 22 states and 12 countries.

Powerhouse partnerships

In addition to the full- and part-time students who enroll directly with ASU Prep Digital, the school also teams with private schools, public schools and districts worldwide to offer a K–12 curriculum and one-on-one instruction in a virtual environment. The program’s latest suite of courses, which will be available this fall to partner schools via the ASU Prep Learning Cloud, powered by Google Cloud, can be used in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

As pioneers in their respective industries, ASU Prep Digital and Google Public Sector worked to develop the platform, which is based on game engine technology. The ASU Prep Learning Cloud features responsive design optimized for the most commonly used devices (e.g., Chromebooks, mobile phones) using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

“Our partnership with ASU Prep Digital has the ability to unlock new and innovative academic opportunities for learners across the country,” said Steven Butschi, director of education for Google Public Sector. “We’re unleashing the power of Google Cloud to help make individualized, digital and interactive learning the new standard in education.”

Courses integrate seamlessly into existing learning management systems, while supporting robust interactive features that personalize learning. The platform currently supports ASU Prep Digital partner schools, but in the future, could be rolled out to other educational institutions.

“As immersive technologies become more widely adapted in education, 3D-learning environments such as augmented reality and virtual reality offer great potential for engagement and retention,” Sudarma said. “Our collaboration with Google Public Sector is a terrific first step in expanding access to immersive solutions across many devices, and we’re working together to explore ways immersive technologies can be made even more universally available to eager learners.”

Preview a snapshot of ASU Prep Learning Cloud courses or take a deeper look at the immersive platform.

ASU pre-veterinary medicine student cares for animals on Navajo land

Jennifer Kobs assists with surgeries in GoPawesome clinic in Gallup, New Mexico

July 15, 2022

For Jennifer Kobs, an Arizona State University applied biological sciences senior, two days in June were intense, tiring and fulfilling as she helped spay and neuter animals on the Navajo Nation in northern New Mexico.

Kobs, a Barrett, The Honors College student whose focus is on pre-veterinary medicine with a certificate in wildlife management, participated in the GoPawesome Spay & Neuter Surgical Instruction and Training Course in Gallup, New Mexico, on June 15–17. Barrett Honors College provided funding for Kobs to participate in the program, which was held in a school gymnasium set up with surgical tables and other equipment. Two people in scrubs performing surgery on a dog. Jennifer Kobs (right), a senior applied biological sciences major and pre-veterinary medicine student, helps with surgery on a canine patient at the GoPawesome spay and neuter clinic in Gallup, New Mexico, held June 15–17. Download Full Image

The program is an intense, two-day surgical training course that provides veterinary students at all levels the opportunity to gain spay and neuter experience as they work alongside licensed veterinarians who are working to improve their skills and gain surgical time.

It also provides much needed veterinary care for dogs and cats on Navajo land in the Four Corners region of northern Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. In addition to spay and neuter procedures, the program offers vaccines and treatment for fleas, ticks and worms.

Program participants work with GoPawesome’s veterinarians, who are skilled in high-volume spay and neuter techniques, and are assisted by veterinary technicians.

“This was my first high-volume experience, so I was unsure of what the clinical environment would be like. I initially was scared and nervous to participate, as I did not know how hands-on I would be getting,” said Kobs, a first-generation student from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As it turned out, she got lots of hands-on experience as she assisted with surgeries throughout a packed schedule on both days.

“On the first morning, our day started at 5 a.m. Travel time to the clinic was an hour and a half, and we began the clinic setup at 7:45 before we began surgery by 9:30 a.m. From that moment, we were working our shifts, nonstop, until our last surgeries at around 6 p.m.,” Kobs said.

Kobs was assigned to different positions and tasks focused on skill sets within a high-volume spay and neuter veterinary clinic. 

In the “prep” area, she helped with surgical preparation, which included injecting medications like antibiotics and pain killers, catheter placement, intubation and shaving the surgical site.

While assisting with anesthesia, she was responsible for ensuring proper operation of the anesthesia rebreathing and non-breathing system, which including checking the flow lines and weighing the gas waste canisters after each patient. Other tasks included confirming the proper flow of isoflurane, a general anesthetic, and checking vital signs.

ASU student Jennifer Kobs wearing scrubs and holding a puppy while smiling in a vet clinic.

Jennifer Kobs aims to become a veterinarian working with animals at a zoo or wildlife sanctuary. Photo courtesy Jennifer Kobs

She also directly assisted with surgeries by passing instruments to the doctor, scrubbing the surgical site and ensuring surgical sterility. She learned surgical processes and techniques, and practiced suturing under a doctor’s supervision.

“This was arguably the most stressful and exciting part of the experience, as I was able to assist with the surgeries directly,” she said, adding that she learned the anatomy of the reproductive organs and the surgical steps necessary for spaying and neutering in order to avoid future litters of feral cats and dogs.

“The anesthesia was the most challenging part of the experience on both days, due to the nature of this position, as the doctor is relying on you to read the proper cues (bodily movement, pupillary response, etc.) to ensure safe anesthetic administration. By the end of the experience, I had placed seven to nine catheters and I assisted in over 10 surgeries, which was far more than I was expecting to practice within two days. I thoroughly enjoyed this program, but I would only recommend it to pre-vet students who have had prior experience with anesthesia or surgery, due to the intensity of the environment,” Kobs said.

Kobs said her goal is to attend veterinary school and work in general practice at a zoo or a wildlife sanctuary. She also is interested in providing at-home euthanasia services for pets who are at the end of their lives.

“GoPawesome helped me step outside of my comfort zone in a new program that focuses on medicine I haven't been able to practice yet, and allowed me to gain further experience that I will ultimately build upon in the future,” she said.

Nicole Greason

Director of Marketing and Public Relations , Barrett, The Honors College