After successfully securing an Oklahoma Lottery Grant, Southwest Tech has equipped eleven full-time programs with HTC VIVE systems, which provide an immersive virtual reality experience to accompany technical training. The HTC Vive is at the forefront of Virtual Reality (VR) technology and is the top product for room-scale VR. Room-scale VR means that you are both visually and physically immersed within the VR experience. Instead of passively reading about the subjects in a textbook, Southwest Tech students will take an active role in their learning with virtual work-based learning in real life interactions from the human body to aircraft maintenance.
VR-based education is deemed as a field with huge potential and has evolved training from “concept phase” to “implementation phase.” Compared with traditional education, VR-based education has an obvious advantage in theoretical knowledge teaching, as well as, practical skills training. In theoretical knowledge teaching, it boasts the ability to make abstract problems concrete, and theoretical thinking well-supported. In practical skills training, it helps sharpen students’ operational skills, provides an immersive learning experience, and enhances students’ sense of involvement in class, making learning more fun, more secure, and more active. Education becomes truly interactive in a virtual setting. Technical learning generally requires total immersion. For example, virtual worlds enable the ability to place students from a nursing class directly into tours of human anatomy that are an immersive self-discovery experience into the human body. Students can explore 15 body systems with more than 4,000 realistic anatomical structures and organs. You can select, hide, and fade bones, muscles, vessels, organs and other structures. Similar apps for all Southwest Tech programs are available, from graphic design to automotive maintenance. Students will have the opportunity to enhance the current learning environment with hands-on virtual learning. By incorporating VR into the curriculum, Southwest Tech classrooms and labs are transformed into high-quality business and industry learning environments providing the student more work-based learning experiences.
In a recent article by Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education Interim State Director, Lee Denney stated, “VR offers students memorable and immersive experiences that would otherwise not be possible. What’s more, the magic of VR is that it can take students to places throughout the world without leaving the classroom. In this world of limited attention spans, VR offers immediate engagement. It increases a student’s ability to learn. It increases overall comprehension of complex subjects and theories. It improves their ability to retain information. And it makes learning an active experience.”
Southwest Tech Superintendent/CEO, Dale Latham stated, “This new and emerging technology on our campus is providing students with experiences they may have never been exposed to previously. Businesses and Industry across the world are turning to VR technology to train new and existing employees. It is imperative that we stay abreast of industry trends and continuously improve our technology offering top notch, real world training for our students as we prepare them for the workforce.”
Pictured above is Southwest Tech Superintendent/CEO, Dale Latham, fully immersed into an anatomy and physiology lesson on one of the new (eleven) HTC VIVE VR systems that Southwest Tech secured via an Oklahoma Lottery grant this summer.