An 8th grade EAST student at Douglas McArthur Junior High School is developing a virtual reality simulation for EMT students at Arkansas State University, where students will be able to study a virtual skeleton and several potential injuries.
EAST at Douglas McArthur Junior High School has been on fire this school year, and one of the program’s premiere projects is looking to change the educational experience for EMT students at Arkansas State University.
Copper McDowell is an 8th-grade student in his second year in EAST, and has always had an affinity for programming, especially when it comes to virtual reality.
“I’ve always been interested in both game development and engineering,” Copper said. “My goal for this year was to work inside the world of virtual reality, so that was the inspiration behind my project.”
Copper has been working inside the Unreal Engine, one of the most popular software development engines in the world, to create a virtual reality experience that can provide a more accessible educational tool for students pursuing a career in Emergency Medical Treatment.
“I’m creating a virtual reality simulator where students can interact with a skeleton and examine it with broken bones and different types of injuries,” Copper said. “Currently I’m working on the skeleton to make sure it’s user-friendly and easy to move around.”
While virtual reality is commonly associated with gaming and entertainment, the hardware provides many uses for both the educational world and the professional world, and Copper says his belief in the technology is why he became so invested in it.
“The main reason I took on this project was to show how much VR can be used to change the world,” Copper said. “I’ve always liked and felt attached to technology, so I wanted to be a part of growing how it can be used.”
While his project is still in development, Copper is relishing the opportunity he’s received in EAST to pursue his passion in a way that makes the most sense to him.
“I really like how you’re your own teacher in a lot of ways and have control over what you do in the class,” Copper said. “Someone isn’t telling you what to do all the time, you can find something that you’re passionate about and do it. Or if you want to learn something new like 3D modeling or game development, you have the time and freedom to do that.”