Students can now travel across the country from Silicon Valley to Chicago, touring STEM careers, all without leaving the confines of their guidance counselor’s office thanks to a new free virtual reality phone app.
VR STEM Career Exploration is a new innovation in education created jointly by VictoryVR and Assumption High School, where it was recently unveiled. The free app is now available for Android phones from the Google Play Store and for iPhones at Apple’s App Store.
Using head-mounted displays, like a Google Cardboard which can be purchased for as little as $10, students using the app enter a virtual lobby and select from a wide variety of careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). From programmers in Silicon Valley, to game developers in Dallas, to astrophysicists in New Mexico, to school technologists in Chicago, students experience an impressive array of opportunities within the STEM fields.
“This app is a perfect tool for high school guidance counselors and parents as they help students search for career paths. Students don’t even need to leave school to learn about STEM careers across the country,” said Wendy Martin, an Assumption High School science teacher.
Guidance counselors will be able to provide students with a tool that examines 20 different careers within the STEM fields, some of which are non-traditional.
“When someone thinks of STEM careers, dairy farmer and patent lawyer are probably not jobs that jump out. This app allows students to see that the understanding of science and technology is not just for people who wear white coats and work in labs,” said Steve Grubbs, CEO of VictoryVR.
VR STEM Career Exploration also highlights the importance of lifelong learning. Several of the professionals interviewed for the project didn’t start out in the careers they are currently enjoying.
The interviewees are asked three main questions: what do they do in their career, how did they get to where they are today, and what advice do they have for students. One key theme throughout the interviews is that STEM knowledge will serve students throughout life, no matter what career path they choose.
“Our goal was to show that students shouldn’t feel confined in choosing what they do after high school, but rather that the world of STEM offers them many possibilities,” commented Grubbs. “A degree in biology can lead to a career in solar energy; someone starting out in manufacturing engineering can use that experience to become a successful lawyer.”
Since the app’s recent unveiling, numerous media outlets have picked up on the opportunity: the Quad City Times, National Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio, and the (Iowa) Governor’s STEM Advisory Council News.
The full list of professions the app covers includes:
- Science Teacher
- Family Doctor
- Industrial Engineer
- Web Developer
- Blood Center Director
- Registered Nurse
- Technology Director
- Patent Attorney
- Telescope Operations Specialist
- Astronomy Site Manager
- Mechanical & Electrical Contractor
- Solar Energy Entrepreneur
- Computer Animator
- Video Game Programer
- Gaming CEO
Funding for the project was provided by a $25,000 STEM Best Grant from the State of Iowa and matching corporate contributions.
In addition to the VR STEM Career Exploration app, VictoryVR is in the final stages of production for its virtual reality science curriculum supplement. VictoryVR Science adheres to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for grades 5-8, though the lessons can be enjoyed by users of in a wider span. VictoryVR Science contains 24 “VR books” covering standards in Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science, and Engineering Design. Each book contains a virtual field trip (similar to the experiences in the VR STEM Career Exploration app), a virtual science lesson delivered by one of America’s top science teachers, virtual reality animated lessons, and interactive learning games.
To learn more about the VR STEM Career Exploration app check out
Governor’s STEM Advisory Council: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/May-2017-Iowa-STEM-News.html?soid=1111870609743&aid=qs_oa-Cfzms
Visit www.victoryvr.biz/education for more details about VictoryVR Science.