Students test out virtual reality kits
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.