A Whole New World for Technology in Education

Lockheed Martin launches Prepar3D® simulation software as an immersive educational tool for students at the undergraduate level and below.

Offering a virtual world simulation that spans from deep underwater all the way to suborbital space, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D® software is now available as a hands-on learning tool for students. The software harnesses the power of gaming technology for an educational purpose.

“Our Prepar3D software presents a virtual world for experiential learning, transporting students to realistic settings where they can see the effects of their decisions,” says Martile Allen, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D program manager.

“Imagine students applying geometry to figure out the shortest flight plans, or learning about marine life at the Great Barrier Reef. These types of lessons can come to life through virtual worlds,” adds Allen.

In addition to offering a platform to teach science, technology, engineering and math, Prepar3D allows students to work together to solve challenges and build their communication and teamwork skills.

Currently, the National Flight Academy uses Prepar3D as part of its hands-on programs to link learning standards and aviation games in the classroom, at community venues and in an in-residence program aboard the NFA Ambition, a new land-based simulated training aircraft carrier.

“Our nation is facing a shortage of skilled STEM professionals,” says David Shikada, the National Flight Academy’s chief marketing officer. “Consider that the U.S. is ranked 35th in math education and 29th in science education worldwide. Stats also show that the U.S. has made no significant performance gains in the last four years in science.”

“To reinvigorate the American spirit of innovation and build a better future for next generations, we must inspire young people to choose STEM disciplines so we can build a workforce that can bring new ideas and new products to the global marketplace,” Shikada says.

Since 2009, the National Flight Academy has brought Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE) labs to five schools in Florida. The program uses virtual game play and simulation to teach students aerodynamics, propulsion, navigation, communications, flight physiology and meteorology.

A typical ACE installation consists of a series of individual computer workstations, three Prepar3D flight simulators and an air traffic control station.

“It’s amazing seeing these kids’ faces light up when they work with their peers on a challenge. What’s even better is seeing the light bulbs go on when they understand a math or science topic that they were having difficulty mastering,” says Shikada.

Lockheed Martin Prepar3D can be used for educational curricula, after school programs, summer camps and at home. The software will be showcased during the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., April 28 and 29.

In 2010, Lockheed Martin launched Prepar3D for immersive mission rehearsal and procedures training by professionals and military personnel. The new academic version is now available at www.prepar3d.com for student instruction at and below the undergraduate level.