EHS students to showcase VR technology’s potential

Published 8:20 am Monday, September 9, 2019

Students at Elizabethton High School started their school year with virtual reality technology few in the country could match. Now these students are going to showcase the technology’s power and utility to elected officials and business leaders in Elizabethton, so they can see for themselves how it all comes together.

XQ Director at EHS Alex Campbell said the open house is a way to show what is possible with the technology beyond the classroom.

“The tech is so new, people do not know what it is,” Campbell said.

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He said many people still view virtual reality as merely an entertainment tool while failing to grasp how it can revolutionize many business fields.

“Virtual reality is probably going to be in everyone’s windshields in the next 10 years,” he said.

He said many companies are already utilizing or even requiring it as part of their training programs for new employees. He said FedEx requires a certain amount of time driving virtual trucks before they can set foot in a real one for the first time.

“For anything dangerous, you can train them virtually first,” Campbell said.

It is this kind of potential Campbell said he hopes to tap into with this open house, showcasing how the technology can change the way local businesses go about their operations.

“I am old,” Campbell said. “I remember when I got white boards, […] then we got the smart boards. This is that kind of leap.”

He said this open house is mostly for business partners and elected officials, and a more public open house is still in the works.

“You cannot even explain it to people,” Campbell said. “You have to be there.”

When the VR program started, he said all 30 spots filled up in the first two minutes of registration. Even though the specific program is full, however, he said other teachers can also use the program to revolutionize how they teach their material.

Want to showcase the ancient Roman Empire? Take a virtual tour through the Roman Coliseum or the Parthenon. Want to better learn how the human heart works? Jump right into a blood vessel and follow where everything goes.

He said he wants to showcase this kind of technology to the community in the best way possible, so they can understand why it is significant how EHS is one of the few schools in the country with this kind of technology.

This “early meeting’ open house will take place Thursday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at EHS.