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VRAR Chicago - Career Awareness Day - Komarek School
VRAR Chicago - Career Awareness Day - Komarek School

Chicago, ILVRAR Chicago launched their Virtual Reality Career Awareness Day program for middle school students at Komarek School District 94 in North Riverside on Thursday, April 17th. After arriving that morning and temporarily converting the school gym to a virtual reality (VR) lab, approximately 170 students and a few teachers experienced over 340 VR job simulations. The simulated job tasks were drawn from careers in industry clusters including healthcare, sustainable energy, manufacturing, information technology, and more.

”I heard a lot of positive feedback from students,” said Komarek’s Principal, Diane Michelini. District 94 Superintendent, Dr. Todd Fitzgerald added, “This experience is definitely, for us and our district, taking it to another level of exposing students to new careers. When students have some choice in the jobs to try in the VR headset and they get a more real life experience as opposed to sitting and listening to someone talk about it. I think this is very impactful for students at this age.”

Illinois passed a law in 2022 requiring schools to offer students in grades 6-12 a program that introduces them to “career exploration opportunities that allow students to explore a wide variety of high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand career fields.” VRAR Chicago created the Virtual Reality Career Awareness Day program to help Illinois middle schools address this requirement. They eliminate the barriers to implementing VR technology within a school environment by providing a detailed project plan to the school in advance and bringing everything necessary to implement the program with them: VR equipment, software, staff, and even their own WiFi network.

Matthew Wren, VRAR Chicago’s founder said “Virtual Reality is probably the most powerful learning technology available today. It makes sense to implement it at schools where it can provide the most benefit. We developed this program to meet the career exploration requirement in a way that doesn’t burden teachers, staff, or school IT resources, while providing a fun and engaging learning experience for the students.”

When asked about how difficult it was to prepare for the VRAR Career Awareness Day program, Superintendent Fitzgerald said, “This was really easy to implement. They provided us with documents we could share with teachers and a step by step communication plan. I don’t feel I had to put much time or energy into preparing.” Principal Michelini said, “I really liked the template they provided for scheduling the students. It helped me to plan for how to rotate the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders into and out of the gym through the day. I thought it was very well thought out. They did a great job with checking in with us prior, and had their timeframes down perfectly.”

For more information about VR Career Awareness Days, or to book a day for your school, contact