Virtual reality in the classroom — there’s a wait list at this NJ vo-tech
Students at Burlington County Institute of Technology keep leaving their classroom.
And it's encouraged by faculty.
That's because they're leaving via virtual reality. In an instant, students can transport themselves to the "scene of a crime," for example, or an auto body shop or operating table, to perfect a skill set they hope to use after high school and into their careers.
The vocational and technical school has made an investment in virtual reality headsets and augmented reality equipment that give students at the Medford and Westampton classes "a leg up" on mastering the knowledge and tools they'd need for their career path, Superintendent of Schools Christopher Nagy told New Jersey 101.5.
Nagy said the technology advancement, something he's been focused on since taking the superintendent position four years ago, is almost "natural" for today's youth that are all too familiar with first-person video gaming at home. The option, he adds, is also helping attract students to certain fields — females to welding, for example — they may have shied away from otherwise.
"They have embraced this quite enthusiastically," Nagy said of students. "This is the first time in many, many years that we actually have a waiting list at BCIT for students to try to get into our programs."
Nagy said BCIT partners with over 600 businesses, some of which have connected the school to the technology used in the workplace. Through the applications, students can analyze blood spatter at a virtual crime scene, paint a vehicle, or dig deep into the muscular system of a cadaver.
"They actually perfect their trade virtually first," he said.
Nagy said there's an "easy transfer" from the virtual component to the real deal. The upgrade actually saves the district some money by cutting down on the amount of hands-on equipment needed in house, that would eventually turn into waste.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.