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The United States Department of Education has announced that Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has been awarded $1,371,256 for an Institutional Resilience – Virtual and Augmented Reality Development Grant. The priority for this project is the development of a Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) library of lab applications for students. This technology will allow students to experience off-site learning instead of attending on-campus labs. With the pandemic and subsequent issues of keeping students socially distanced when meeting in person, this new delivery of lab curriculum in specific programs will allow hands-on training to meet course competencies also ensuring student safety.
Virtual reality-based training gives students the ability to practice hands-on tasks from any location with Wi-Fi. It also enables users to have unlimited practice time until they become proficient in the skills. Many businesses and industries use this type of technology in simulation-based training components for their new hires, trainees, and seasoned employees.
This funding through the Department of Education will allow Wiregrass to not only build a VR/AR library of applications that match their curriculum for its use, but would offer the opportunity to share applications with all technical colleges in Georgia, and beyond. One of the many benefits for students is the self-paced learning method of technology that gives remediation when necessary and promotes learning through a game-like environment.
Wiregrass Interim President DeAnnia Clements shared, "We are excited about this grant as it will allow expanded remote learning opportunities through the college, including designing custom contract training services for industry partners through the college's Economic Development."
Wiregrass offers more than 175 program choices in various career fields from Accounting to Welding and Joining Technology. More than half of these have a lab course that allows for hands-on, practical exposure to the subject matter. Dr. Bonnie Kelly, Grants Manager, serves as the evaluator for this project. The college is currently accepting new students for Fall Express; classes start on September 27. To learn more about the college visit, wiregrass.edu.