Instructors hope the immersive learning afforded by the simulator will help cadets develop their science, technology, engineering and math skills

Will flight simulator boost air cadets’ STEM skills?

Students in Breslau, Ont.’s Cadet Youth Development Centre (CYDC) will soon be “flying” on a game-based flight simulator developed by global aerospace firm Lockheed Martin.

The Prepar3D simulator used game-based technology to provide a virtual reality platform that incorporates immersive learning scenarios from simulated underwater to suborbital space environments. The technology is currently in use by both military and civilian professionals for individual and group training exercises.

Instructors at the Cadet Youth Development Centre hope the immersive learning environment provided by the simulator will also encourage students to further explore and develop their so-called STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and math.

“When our cadets get in the simulators, they are entirely attuned to the tasks of their teammates,” said Lt. Col Ronald Gowing (ret.), founder and program director of the CYDC. “The simulation program empowers youth to take control of their futures by cultivating self-assurance that they can excel in math and the sciences.”

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More than 300 students take part every year in the CYDC program. The aerospace facility of the centre is the only cadet facility of its kind in Canada. Community and aerospace programs are also provided to local schools, scouts, guides and other youth-oriented programs.

“Simulation technology provides boundless opportunity for engaging youth in learning about STEM disciplines, and we are honored to support the Cadet Youth Development Centre in that mission,” said Jon Rambeau, VP for training and logistics solutions at Lockheed Martin.

Attracting interest among students in the so-called STEM areas is a problem in many Canadian schools that eventually becomes apparent in universities and colleges and the job market, according to experts.

For instance Canada’s IT talent gap has traced to its aging population, offshoring lack of women and skilled immigrants entering the IT field but also the technology bust in the early 2000s which cut the number of students taken IT courses.

 

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