Vive is a system that allows the user to discover virtual reality almost beyond imagination. The 14-year-old spent the first four months of this year writing the proposal while recuperating after eye surgery in March.

Katikati College principal Neil Harray said Zach put together an impressive proposal around the VR gear and why he thinks it would be perfect for this school.

“I thought it could be interesting but the budgets had been set. I am keen and the school is looking at helping support the project but we will need outside support,” he said.

Zach’s mother Sandy Coley said she was blown away by Neil’s response.

“I’m supportive of Zach and the school getting this. It is a new way of thinking and whether we agree with it or not, it’s happening. From a school’s perspective you have to move and be innovative and sustainable in teaching, and keep school relative for kids. This is something really awesome and I’d like to see it happen in Neil’s time at the school since he has done so much.”

Zach, who has spoken at two school assemblies about the cutting-edge system, believes Vive could be great for school and the classroom, because you can use it for many subjects, for example art and design.

“Vive would be great for art because there is an app called tilt brush that allows you to draw things in 3D space like a volcano or house with virtual walls and many other things.

“It could help students get a job by giving them a job experience through a game called Job Simulator. This is a VR experience, where you can experience different jobs like a gourmet chef, auto mechanic, convenience store worker and office worker.”

Neil won’t know until February but is hopeful the school will cover the cost of the PC. Sandy hopes to come up with $3000 for the VR gear. Zach has so far raised $120 from Minecraft Club at school, which Sandy helps supervise at lunchtimes.

“It’s been a cool project for Zach to build his confidence and demonstrate what he can do, and not limited by his reduced sight and dyspraxia. And he could look at building the PC as well, together with our IT teacher Alistair Simpson,” Neil said.

Next year Zach will take ICT as a tech subject.

Last month Neil was one of 10 secondary school principals on Priority One’s InStep programme visiting companies to get a better sense of student career options and what business is looking for in new employees.

Community support is needed to enable them to get the VR gear required. People are invited to pledge money to help or to find out more contact Sandy Coley on 549-1410.

Source: The Bay of Plenty Times

By CHRIS STEEL

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