initiatives

Virtual Reality for Kansas City Students

OVERVIEW

The DeBruce Foundation’s Agility Advantage model is intended to be used throughout the lifespan of an individual. The ability to combine Growth Mindset, Skills Mastery, and Market Knowledge (the three components of the Agility Advantage) provides a lifelong learning opportunity for individuals who undertake the Agility Advantage process. The VRoKCs initiative is an example of how Agility Advantage can be used by the high school audience to master a skill (VR/AR coding) and advance market knowledge (career opportunities in the skilled trades).

VRoKCs (https://www.vrokcs.org/) is an organization dedicated to “Bringing Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Learning and Development to K-12 Education and Beyond.” It offers VR/AR coding boot camps to Kansas City metropolitan area high school students with no prior coding experience and sponsors ‘hackathons’ for high school coding teams in nine local school districts.  The DeBruce Foundation sponsored one of the VR/AR boot camps during the  summer of 2018, which led to to a hackathon sponsorship in December 2018.  The team challenge was to create a VR/AR solution addressing the lack of visibility and interest in the skilled trades in their age cohort.

CONNECTION TO AGILITY ADVANTAGE

  • The preparation of individuals (students, reconnectors, and seniors) for the future workplace is critical.  Kansas City employers require job candidates to be proficient in the Common Sector Competencies, yet data from KC Rising reports them to be lacking in this area. A growth mindset is required for individuals to believe they can learn these core skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
  • VRoKCs provides market knowledge of the skilled trades specifically among youth.  If more young people are exposed to the well-paying and cutting-edge technological aspect of the trades, the pipeline will be strengthened.
  • The VRoKCs Hackathon provided an exciting, rigorous, and competitive environment for students to continue their mastery of computer coding skills.Under the mentorship of adult subject experts, seven high school VR/AR coding teams from the Kansas City metro area were invited to participate in the Fall 2018 Hackathon.  Teams had the understanding that they were building a digital application that could be shared with their age group to bring higher visibility to career opportunities in the skilled trades.

OUTCOMES

  • The seven high-school teams spent three days using technology designing mobile applications that would implement and disseminate market knowledge relating to the skilled trades.
  • The students became proficient in their journey of mastering VR/AR coding, which is a highly marketable skill.
  • The students had three days to complete this project. The belief that their team could design, build, and present their project was a fantastic example of having the right growth mindset to complete the task.

AGILITY ADVANTAGE IN ACTION

The VRoKCs hackathon garnered television coverage on local Kansas City news, and Kansas City Public Television and the National Institute for Construction Excellence have offered to highlight the students’ projects at two upcoming technology events.  Professionals in the field will mentor the teams to present the best of their projects to investors (similar to a Shark Tank experience) which will give students real-world experience in ‘pitching’ their products to an investment team.  Sharing these projects provides other students with the opportunity to learn about a career in the skilled trades.

When used as the foundation upon which to build, Agility Advantage becomes a powerful tool. In just three days, these students applied Agility Advantage principles to create innovative mobile applications and enhance their computer coding skills, and gained a wealth of market knowledge for their consumption and to share with their peers.  Imagine the impact if Agility Advantage was used over a lifetime.


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