BY MELANIE WADE –
Cossatot River School District’s EAST class is determined to make waves, of the good sort, through the development of projects that benefit the masses. Their latest of such is a virtual reality tour of area trails for those unable to actually walk the trails. EAST stands for Environmental and Spatial Technology, and is a constantly expanding area that has many facets for students to learn about and develop upon, and encourages students to use what they learn to benefit their community.
EAST facilitator, Emily Huckabey, said, “Living in a very rural area such as ours means that there are several nature trails to hike and explore. It’s a very fulfilling experience for many people in our community, but what about those that are not physically able to walk the trails? For that reason, we wanted to give anyone access to the trails year round without actually having to be there.”
Huckabey explained that their EAST program partnered with the Cossatot State Park Rangers to create virtual tours of their trails. “The technology we used for this project was the 3D Vista Virtual Tour program, 3D Vista Hosting Service, Theta S 360 camera, and Oculus Rift.”
“Through this project, we learned that it’s all about trial and error; if something doesn’t work, be persistent until you do find something that does work. It helped us to realize that things aren’t always as hard as they seem, and that anything can be completed through hard work, creativity, critical thinking and persistence.”
EAST programs across the state are teaching students the latest technologies that they then implement into real projects, changing their perspectives and their communities. A project presented by Cossatot River EAST last April by students was a mapping app that local emergency services could use to expedite response times. Faye Wilkinson and Rylee Stevenson presented their developments to Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison.
“The app works almost like Google Earth. The EMS or fire department would be able to pull up the address they were given and see what the house looked like, the length of the driveway, and other things that would help,” said Wilkinson.
Their first virtual trail tour can be found at: http://storage.net-fs.com/hosting/4071855/1/index.htm
Look for more on EAST’s developments in future editions of The Pulse.