Flight simulator allows students to kiss the sky

Feel the cool air flowing through your hair, witness the formation of upper-atmosphere clouds and peer down at the people, as small as ants, moving below, all from the comfort of a classroom firmly grounded in Camarillo; this is the promise of the new state-of-the-art Test amd Evaluation Collaboration Hub Center that gives students an immersive experience in the virtual pilot’s seat.

The TECH Center, located at the Ventura County Office of Education’s Career Education Center near the Camarillo Airport, will provide aviation students with the ability to remotely pilot vehicles from anywhere in the world without ever leaving campus, the first of its kind in California. The classroom was built in a collaboration of the Ventura County Office of Education, the Oxnard Union High School District and the U.S. Department of Defense Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division.

As part of the experience, middle- and high-school students will conduct a myriad of missions flying unmanned aerial vehicles, jets and helicopters, and will be prepared for jobs in private and government engineering, aviation and test and evaluation industries. Students will learn the specifications of aircraft, plan surveys using maps, analyze terrain and weather information, and determine cost impacts of operations.

“This program is unique within California and gives students in Ventura County experience they wouldn’t have elsewhere,” said Tiffany Morse, Ph.D., director of Career Education at Ventura County Office of Education. “The TECH Center is part of a structured plan of workforce development in Ventura County to train the employees needed to replace those who will be retiring in the next five to 10 years.”

For more information on the TECH Center, visit www.vcoe.org.

Virtual reality school bus hits Camarillo

The zSpace virtual reality school bus is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to give kids a safe opportunity to conduct experiments and learn.

The zSpace virtual reality school bus is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to give kids a safe opportunity to conduct experiments and learn.

Move over, Ms. Frizzle, children now have a new magic ride: The zSpace virtual reality school bus will give students and teachers an opportunity to learn how virtual reality is shaping the classroom, from holding a virtual butterfly to dissecting a virtual heart.

It’s zSpace, a Silicon Valley education company, that has rolled out this virtual classroom to 400 students from kindergarten to high school, promoting education in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. At the bus’s stop in Camarillo on Oct. 4, students and teachers were able to get a glimpse at mixing chemicals, practice working on electronics and performing operations without, says zSpace, the risk of spills, accidents or injury.

“Schools are showing all of us how virtual reality will be used in the future,”said Paul Kellenberger, CEO, adding that “zSpace created the technology and the content, but it’s the teachers and students who have found amazing ways to use it to learn and discover, whether they’re solving physics problems, studying cells or creating 3-D models.”

Students can collaborate on projects without the use of a virtual reality headset, common with the technology. The classroom’s recent updates include chemistry, Common Core math subjects for grades 2 through 7 and Windows 10 compatibility.

Get a video tour of the bus by visiting https://youtu.be/hRmkkrafboo.