Virtual reality becomes actual reality for enterprising CAST Tech students

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CAST Tech VR
CAST Tech

CAST Tech sophomore Paul Lane (SBG photo)

SAN ANTONIO – At CAST Tech, Jonathan Earley’s students look forward to Fridays. That’s when they get to play virtual reality games in class. And it’s an integral part of the curriculum.

“I call it Friday fun day, and I let them take turns playing virtual reality,” Earley said. “I predict 10 years from now it’s going to be probably as prevalent as tablets or smart phones.”

Earley’s eager freshmen and sophomores are currently learning web site design. Not only are they creating web sites, but they are pitching their ideas to local businesses whose sites are either outdated or nonexistent.

“We’re going over the different companies and businesses to figure out, hey, do you want a free web site that we can create?” said sophomore Paul Lane. “Hoping by doing that they will come back and say, ‘that was really a good web site. How about we pay you to do that?’”

Along with the web work, the students are learning digital art animation and coding.

Their final project next year will be to collaborate on a virtual reality game.

“We’ll be teaching the students game design principals like what makes a game fun and enjoyable, and how to build incentives into the game,” Earley said. “Once they learn those principals, they are

CAST Tech

CAST Tech teacher Jonathan Earley (SBG photo)

going to come up with an idea for a game.”

Earley, who has an extensive background in technology, will teach them how to build, publish and release it.

“For me that seems really interesting, like really fun,” said Lane, who is particularly excited about combining “all our ideas into one and then being able to see what we created.”

Virtual reality is already being used on everything from engine design to law enforcement and sports training.

“The barrier to entry with virtual reality is much lower than it is for coding,” Earley said. “If these students are learning it now, by the time they graduate from college, it’s going to be pretty well developed and they are going to have a huge advantage.”

CAST (Centers for Applied Science and Technology) Tech currently consists of 250 ninth and tenth graders, with room for about 25 more students.

Source: News 4 SA By: Jim Lefko