TSTC offers new virtual reality program for automotive tech students
Texas State Technical College is currently implementing virtual reality for automotive technology students.
Students began using TRANSFRVR headsets this semester to take classes on oil changes, working with candles, and other skills this semester.
“I think it’s a great way to lay the groundwork and then get the student out there and take the leap,” said automotive technology student Zack Morris.
TSTC explained that the technology engages students without the risk of injury and gives them a chance to feel more confident with skills before heading to the actual automotive lab.
Students can take turns in the virtual simulation lab inside and outside the classroom.
“There is no risk, this oil is not hot when it virtually comes out of the car,” said John Kirchmeier, automotive technology instructor.
According to a TechForce Foundation report, the demand for new automotive technicians nearly doubled in 2021, from 136,503 in 2020 to over 250,000 in 2021.
Students, like Carlos Villarreal, hope things like new technology will help attract a new generation of automotive technicians.
“Hopefully people will see opportunities like virtual reality or ways to get into something they’re not very familiar with and realize they might have a passion for it,” Villarreal said.
The college said it plans to expand its virtual reality programs in the future. Its pilot training program also uses technology.