BLOOMINGDALE – Multimedia and design students at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School have even more tools to deliver a true 21st century education.
Instructor Cody LaRue said his curriculum now includes podcast and virtual reality equipment to keep up to date and give his students even more creative outlets. Students have a sound card and microphones handy as well as two Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headsets to enhance design and other capabilities.
“I chose (Oculus Quest 2) because VR required a lot of hardware with sensors and wires, but now it has a headset with external sensors and it doesn’t need to be connected to a computer no sensors in the whole room. We are testing them to see if the students can design virtual environments ”, LaRue explained. “A lot of people bought these virtual headsets to stay social during the pandemic. “
LaRue said he managed to connect with his brother in Maine on their own headsets and was inspired to include them in his program.
“I got interested in virtual reality and it became affordable and easy to use. We need to access developer mode to create games and applications for Oculus Quest 2 ”, he noted, claiming that it even provides realistic views of Google Earth streets and famous landmarks and other scenes through apps like Discovery. “The educational value is through the roof for history, geography and social studies and there are more applications for art, computer aided drawing and design (CADD) and architecture.”
The MAD program includes 18 juniors and seniors who learn skills in graphic and web design, photography and multimedia production using programs such as Adobe Suite with Photoshop and Illustrator and Adobe Premiere for video editing. Students will use the latest technology to design three-dimensional spaces and create various applications and games, in addition to virtual environments for podcasts. LaRue said plans are to download podcasts every Friday while the portable card allows on-site production.
“We want to create a weekly podcast and put it on YouTube to discuss everything that’s going on at JVS. We can highlight specific programs and interview students ”, LaRue continued. “We try to stay as up to date with technology as possible and keep up with popular media that is being consumed. We are stepping up this year.
Several of his students said they were delighted to have the latest equipment on hand, as it will help them prepare for their future.
“I think it’s a very good opportunity to learn different environments”, said senior Harlee Barbour. “It prepares us for our career paths in virtual environments and podcasts. “
“Working with the current form of technology is exciting” added Camden Parsons senior.