BOUNTIFUL—Have you ever wanted to walk with dinosaurs or swim with whales? That probably isn’t going to happen in everyday life, but with virtual reality – anything is possible.
That’s what Brian Nelson, founder of ExTech Ventures told STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students at Meadowbrook Elementary at Virtual Reality Night March 9.
“With VR you feel like you’re somewhere else,” he said. “If you don’t have a pet at home, now you can have a pet. All the things you can’t do in real life you can do in VR like go hang out with fish or whales. It feels like you’re under water. It’s really fun and cool.”
Students from second through sixth grades who participate in a STEM program at the school came to the event to test their skills in VR and try to solve real world problems with the knowledge they gained.
“We meet once a month,” said STEM teacher Natalie Swanson. “These kids are particularly interested in it. We build boats and bridges from recycled materials and come up with problems to see if the students can figure out a way to solve them.”
Nelson had set up several stations for the children to try out the different types of VR. At one station, kids could “paint” using goggles.
“In VR you are usually using some type of controller to move things around,” he said. “With traditional coding you can create on a flat screen but with VR you can create other types of worlds. It’s so new and there are so many opportunities right now. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, sports, science, etc.”
The students were crowding around each station enthusiastically waiting their turn to step into the VR world.
“If this inspires one kid tonight to get into a STEM field in college that would be great,” said Swanson. “We want them to apply these things to real life.”