Stu­dents test out vir­tual re­al­ity kits

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

By CO­RAL COOKSLEY

LEARN­ING for the fu­ture via vir­tual re­al­ity set the scene for Old Beech­worth Gaol when eight of the town’s cre­ative young peo­ple last week pro­duced an im­mer­sive film with cut­ting- edge dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

The Aus­tralian Cen­tre for Ru­ral En­trepreneur­ship (ACRE) part­nered with Mel­bournebased Think Dig­i­tal to cre­ate the very first ‘Dig­i­tal Mak­ers Week’ in which more than 150 stu­dents from Beech­worth’s three pri­mary schools and its sec­ondary col­lege took part.

ACRE chief ex­ec­u­tive Matt Pfahlert said that dur­ing the past three years there had been a jump of more than 200 per cent in work­force de­mand for young peo­ple with dig­i­tal lit­er­acy.

“This forms the path of en­ter­pris­ing skills needed by peo­ple for jobs in the fu­ture,” he said.

Think Dig­i­tal founder Tim Gen­tle – who has a mis­sion to de­liver dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tion to peo­ple in ru­ral and re­mote Aus­tralia – said a group of eight dig­i­tal stu­dents who took part in the four-day pro­gram who were given the abil­ity to cre­ate im­mer­sive (head-set) dig­i­tal con­tent. This was the pri­or­ity. “We also achieved our goal to cre­ate con­tin­ued lead­er­ship for the town, too,” he said, “be­cause th­ese sec­ondary col­lege kids were able to mentor younger pri­mary school chil­dren.”

The stu­dents took the his­toric gaol as their set and used drones, pho­to­graphs and film to cre­ate vir­tual re­al­ity.

Among the fea­tures cre­ated were an in­ter­view with Ned Kelly (Beech­worth his­toric precinct’s Michael Beat­tie) and 360-de­gree views of the gaol.

Mr Gen­tle said he was amazed by the young­sters’ ad­vanced con­tent cre­ativ­ity.

All par­tic­i­pants learned about aug­mented and vis­ual re­al­ity as they stepped into another world through the im­mer­sive head-set tech­nol­ogy.

Mr Gen­tle said ACRE and his or­gan­i­sa­tion shared a phi­los­o­phy of de­vel­op­ing peo­ple’s ideas and show­ing how to bring them to fruition us­ing tech­nol­ogy and dig­i­tal skills.

Beech­worth Sec­ondary Col­lege stu­dent Noah Grayling-Turn­bull said be­ing taught by a hands-on pro­fes­sional to make a short film had made “a mas­sive im­pact”.

“It’s opened up more of what I can do for my passion with film mak­ing,” he said.

Al­bury Scots School’s Brooke Goldswor­thy said peo­ple who were un­able could use web map ap­pli­ca­tions to par­tic­i­pate.

Beech­worth Sec­ondary Col­lege’s Louis McGowan-Brown said the course was a good in­tro­duc­tion for the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and made for en­gag­ing learn­ing.

Mr Pfahlert said it was also a great way to show cu­ri­ous young peo­ple how they can ac­cess ex­ist­ing smart learn­ing mod­ules.

More than 50 peo­ple at­tended a com­mu­nity brief­ing to see the re­sults of the stu­dents’ work and gain an un­der­stand­ing of the new tech­nolo­gies.

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