By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
LUCASVILLE — The director of Gov. John Kasich’s Office of 21st Century Education toured the Scioto County Career Technical Center (SciotoTech) on Tuesday to see innovative ways that the school is using new online technologies and blended programs.
Director Richard Ross said SciotoTech Superintendent Stan Jennings told him about the new programs being offered at the school, such as digital classes, virtual welding, and other blended courses that offer a mixture of online and classroom learning. Ross also saw the school’s VRTEX360 — a $45,000 piece of equipment that creates a realistic welding simulation in a variety of digital settings.
Students use the virtual reality simulator in a small room, while the teacher and other students watch the progress on a screen in the classroom down the hall that shows them what the student is seeing through virtual reality goggles. The simulator provides immediate and continuous feedback to the student and instructor. While there might be no substitute for the real thing, the simulator helps train students to learn proper body position, gun angles and position, travel speeds and welding techniques.
“I think this is what the future holds for instruction in a large part of the state of Ohio in a lot of different areas. We wanted to see some some real, live examples of it at Career Tech and at others. Stan’s enthusiasm is infection, and I said, ‘I just have to see this,’” Ross said.
After touring the SciotoTech campus in Lucasville, Ross said he was impressed to see online classwork, and the blended focus in cosmetology and engineering classes. He envisions many opportunities and possibilities for this type of learning all across Ohio.
“We need people like Stan going out there talking to other Career Tech superintendents about the things we’re doing here,” Ross said.
Jennings said he was honored that SciotoTech was the first place the Governor’s office visited to realize these possibilities.
“I think they saw there are a lot of thing we’re doing that are within the guidelines of things they are attempting to do with the blended learning piece as a dictate from the state,” Jennings said.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, firstname.lastname@example.org.