Milton Hershey School Incorporates Virtual Reality Technology into STEAM Curriculum During 2016-17 School Year
As part of the Computer Technology career pathway in Milton Hershey School’s Career and Technical Education program, high school students are working with virtual reality technology during the 2016-17 school year.
“It’s new, ground-breaking technology that gives students the area to create digitally,” said Tony O’Neal, a computer technology teacher at MHS. “Students are picking it up within minutes and learning how to use the entire system. Once they start building inside the program, they can quickly prototype and design different things.”
The school’s computer technology classroom is equipped with HTC Vive virtual reality camera devices that allow students to immerse themselves inside a computer program that displays other parts of the world, including mountaintops and oceans. Academically, virtual reality helps MHS instructors incorporate STEAM lessons and authentic problem-solving into the classroom. With the new technology, there is not a prescribed way to find a solution or solve a problem, which matches the school’s problem-based approach to learning.
“STEM, STEAM and design thinking all deal with solving some kind of worldwide problem,” explained O’Neal. “Virtual reality allows us to build digital solutions and prototype extremely fast in 3D, rather than sketching it on an actual piece of paper. Students can create a 3D design, save it, send it to somebody else, and those people can experience the same model in a 3D atmosphere.”
The Computer Technology career pathway is one of 11 concentrations high schoolers can choose from in Milton Hershey School’s renowned Career and Technical Education program. Through opportunities like this, students learn how to prepare for the modern workforce and apply technical skills to their specific fields.
“The prediction is that jobs our students will pursue [after graduation] aren’t even invented today, so I want to incorporate as much new technology into my classes as possible,” O’Neal said. “It might be something they get interested in and choose to pursue in the future.”
More information about Milton Hershey School’s CTE program and advanced technology can be found at mhskids.org.
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