Wear the helmet and tour a construction site

See how Virtual Reality helps students learn construction trades

The new TAFE “Connected Learning Centre” in Glen Innes TAFE has formally opened. New courses start early in 2018 but the building and its hi-tech facilities were opened by Northern Tablelands MP, Adam Marshall.

Matt Lee, one of the creators of the virtual reality project at Glen Innes TAFE. When students don the VR helmet, they can perform tasks in three dimensions.

Matt Lee, one of the creators of the virtual reality project at Glen Innes TAFE. When students don the VR helmet, they can perform tasks in three dimensions.

Centre-piece is virtual reality equipment which will allow students to perform tasks in three-dimensions without leaving the classroom. 

Critics of the centre have alleged that it’s a way of cutting the number of teachers but Gillian Gray, the General Manager, Training for NSW, said the figures for more courses and teachers knocked that argument down.

“More courses equals more teachers”, she said, citing 39 courses with the new centre compared with a fraction of that under the old system.

She also said that the centre would enable people to get better training rather than worse. “This enables us to bring practical hands-on training to students in rural areas who would not otherwise have had access before”.

Mr Marshall who is also the minister in the state government responsible for TAFE said the new $2.3 million facility was “fantastic”.

The first four connected learning centres are in Quirindi, Coonabarabran, Glen Innes and Tenterfield while eight more are to follow. The idea is that tutors in one can teach students in the others. 

Technology allows expertise to be shared – a teacher who is particularly expert in one field in one place can share his or her skills with the others.