Career Exploration Through Virtual Reality

Union Grove virtual reality career explorationApplying lifelike visual graphics and virtual interaction does wonders for increasing engagement in exploring future career options.


Students in the College, Career Readiness course at Union Grove Middle School spent their class Thursday walking through a knee surgery or changing out a cable on a tower through virtual reality.


Eighth-graders across Killeen ISD take the CCR class and are preparing now to choose their high school endorsement that will help guide course selection the next four years.


Looking to help her students understand career options better, Union Grove CCR teacher Sara Elliott contacted Amber Wilson of Workforce Solutions of Central Texas to execute virtual reality exploration for her students.


Wilson is a SOAR career coach for Workforce Solutions contracted with KISD to take employment services into schools.


Using VR masks and handheld sensors, eighth-graders meandered about a section of the library, following prompts to assist in a surgery, climb a communications tower or work on a contaminated microchip.


The simulation options included medical, information technology and manufacturing, all parallel to programs school districts in this area offer and the local job economy supports.


Students at Union Grove appeared engaged. So did Superintendent Jo Ann Fey, who tried out the virtual experience with the eighth-graders.

Superintendent joins virtual reality experienceVirtual reality career exploration






















“It was kind of crazy,” said Joe Ryan Franco, who chose the knee surgery simulation. “It showed the knee cut open, and I was helping the surgeon. I gave him a scalpel and used a saw.”


“It was great,” said Adrian Santos. He climbed a communications tower and connected a cable.


“It had us climb the tower and connect a cable to the bottom of a tower and attach bolts to a helicopter,” he said.


“It seemed real. I was up high and could see the ground. It was terrifying, but fun.”


Santos said he is thinking about graphic design and agriculture for a career. He agreed that the virtual reality simulation would be good for someone entering a construction career.


Franco, interested in sports and construction, chose the surgery simulation out of curiosity. “If you wanted to do that job, it would be helpful,” he said. “There is a voice that paces you through it all.”


Elliott said she was about to look into virtual reality career exploration when she heard about Wilson, who provides the virtual reality, as well as assistance with resume preparation and mock interviews free for KISD teachers.


“It gives them experience to be in a job,” Elliott said. “We learn about different careers in the classroom. This shows them what it feels like.”