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Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

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Welders use virtual reality to develop skills

Students in the MCA utilize virtual reality training sessions to get hands on practice safely.

Undoubtedly impacting students through opportunity and new ways to learn, technology in schools has advanced over the last decade. From the laptops students carry, to classroom smart-screens that are used daily, the use of technology in everyday education has grown with the students this past generation.

Some classrooms, however, use technology on a more advanced level than your average math or english classroom. For Chessica Garten’s welding class, this is the case.

“Making the students an opportunity to be in a virtual environment while welding has allowed them to get that experience without actually physically being in a welding environment,” Garten says.

This virtual reality welding simulator allows students to practice their skills with accurate computer-generated feedback on the skills they need to improve on. Specific categories are given by the computer to focus on each new ‘coupon’ the student uses to practice on.

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“It helps you on distance, it helps you on your control, basically hand-steadiness and everything else,” says Joshua Mannion, a Maize High student.

The welding training simulator, created by Lincoln Electric, has many features that benefit students out of every use. A realistic rubber ‘coupon’ sits on top of the workspace, offering a place to practice your welding. It tracks data as it follows the rubber torch as the user welds through the vision of the goggles. The realistic sparks and sounds help the students in Garten’s class get used to the environment before stepping foot in the shop.

“Sometimes, I think that we forget that technology isn’t, you know, just, cameras and computers, and the items, the equipment that we’re using and the welders themselves, they are essentially transformers and they are transforming electricity into an energy that we can utilize and can fuse materials. Any equipment that we’re using, to me, is an opportunity for students to utilize technology in the classroom.” says Garten.

The class itself has grown in the past few years with more eager students to learn this new skill. Not every school offers a class you can weld in, so many students are taking advantage of what the Maize Career Academy has to offer.

Liam Dean, a Maize High student, is involved in his first year of welding. “I like welding because it’s just a new experience to have fun with,” he says.

This welding classroom holds more than a Chromebook and touch-screen board. It holds memories, friendships, excitement, new challenges and skills, safety, a career pathway for many students, all possible with modern technology in the classroom.

This story was originally published on OneMaize Media on February 9, 2024.