Turning Dreams into Augmented Reality

At Shanghai American School, dreams are nurtured, passions are ignited and boundaries are shattered. Our teachers go the extra mile to help our students achieve, whether it be academically or with their passion projects. This has been demonstrated once again in Computer Science, which at SAS is not just a subject, but a gateway to infinite possibilities and an avenue for students to embrace their unique aspirations.

At SAS Pudong High School, a group of students used the tech and coding skills they learned in Computer Science to make a difference in their community by developing a groundbreaking Augmented Reality mobile application.

It all started when Aaron ’24, discovered that the Shanghai neighborhood he grew up in was going to be demolished. He felt compelled to do something about it and teamed up with a few classmates to develop Shanghai ARchive, which combines cutting-edge neural radiance field technology with in-depth historical research to capture and preserve both the structures in the neighborhood and the stories they hold.

“Growing up in the lane houses of Shanghai, my childhood was deeply intertwined with these alleyways. From chirping crickets to rice crispies vendors, my neighborhood held countless memories. Given my passion for 3D technology, stemming from my previous internship in 3D computer graphics, I turned to innovative 3D methods to safeguard these lane houses, forming the foundation of our app,” said Aaron.

Throughout the entire project, which spanned many months, the students were supported and cheered on by their Computer Science teacher, Ms. Mae Punzalan, who also introduced them to an SAS alumnus and Apple iOS software development expert.

“The students wanted to follow their dream. We provided them with challenging, authentic engagements and meaningful activities to ensure the learning resonated with them,” said Ms. Punzalan, adding that they were all advanced learners who were guided through facilitative teaching. “We point them to the directions, but we don’t spoon-feed them. They learned on their own and they were inspired to see their project through.”

Whether it's building cutting-edge mobile applications, designing immersive virtual worlds, or pioneering breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, SAS empowers students to explore their passions and turn them into tangible achievements. With the unwavering support of their teachers and an environment that nurtures creativity and exploration, SAS students continue to redefine the boundaries of what is possible, leaving an indelible mark on their community and beyond.

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