BCM and Reality Garage develop VR curriculum for BHS

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Boulder High School digital arts instructor Dave Blessing and student mentor Paul Mealey assist students with the virtual reality project editing

Boulder Community Media (BCM) partnered with the Reality Garage and Boulder High School (BHS) to integrate virtual reality digital programming into the traditional arts.

The acronym, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), is commonly associated non-artistic endeavors.

There is a new iteration that moves STEM into creative industries called STEAM with the “A” representing “arts”.

The digital age added a new dimension to traditional analog art media – paintings, written pages, sculpted forms, animated digital books, 3D movies, and stories told in video game environments.

What if the the otherwise non-artistic skill of virtual reality is integrated into the arts?

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A grant was received from the Best Buy Foundation to develop a VR curriculum and camera operation manual.

The Boulder Virtual Reality (BVR) project was recently completed and does just that, thanks to a small grant from the Best Buy Foundation.

The grant enabled implementation of Phase II of a three Phase project.

During the fall 2018 – 2019 semester at BHS, 19 students were taught about virtual reality by teacher Dave Blessing and Reality Garage owners Bob Ottinger and Brenda Lee.

Reality Garage is a Boulder-based virtual reality technology development company.

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Bob Ottinger from the Reality Garage answers a student’s question.

Students learned hands-on job skills in the classroom work and also in the field where they operated a couple types of cameras.

They then learned how to manipulate the photos and videos into completed “stories.”

The BVR developed two manuals, VR Filming Techniques Curriculum, and VR Camera OperationsThe students completed 13 VR photo projects and 15 VR video projects during the semester.

One student emerged as a mentor who assisted other students and another is working as an intern at Reality Garage.

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Northern Arapaho singer Alison Sage demonstrates traditional drumming and singing.

Phase I was funded by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council.

The Wind River VR Pilot Project introduced virtual reality as a new medium to tell traditional Northern Arapaho stories in a more relevant way to tribal youth.

BCM collaborated with Makerspace 307 in Fort Washakie, Wyoming who recruited four tribal youth to participate.

VR trainer, Glenn Reese, worked with the students in basic camera operation.

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Northern Arapaho artist Robert Martines talks about tribal tradition.

Northern Arapaho artist Robert Martinez discussed with the students the importance of passing tribal traditions to future generations.

Robert worked with the youth as they drew pictures illustrating an Arapaho folk tale, “The Fox and the Wood Tick,” as told by tribal elder Merle Haas.

Alison Sage is a singer member of the Northern Arapaho Eagle Society. He explained how tribal stories and experiences are preserved through song and drumming and worked with the students with expressing themselves through music.

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The Wyoming Arts Council funded Phase I

The crew then traveled to the nearby Arapaho Ranch to integrate flat art and original music with virtual reality.

A virtual reality camera was set up and students displayed their art work. An original music soundtrack was improvised on the grand piano in the ranch house.

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Arapaho elder Gary Collins, BCM VR trainer Glenn Reese and Alan O’Hashi pose with Arapaho storyteller Merle Haas.

Merle Haas read The Fox and the Wood Tick in the Arapaho language. The virtual reality footage of the students with their art work was set to the Arapaho language narration and the student-composed music.

Over time, classrooms will be moving away from “learning” a subject to “feeling” the content through immersion.

To this end, the BVR Phase III project is underway. A third small grant was received from the city of Boulder Arts Commission.

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A marker designates the Fort Chambers site.

That project adds virtual reality to telling the story of a Fort Chambers, which was constructed on the outskirts of Boulder.

The sod fort no longer stands, but was the training facility for the 3rd Volunteer Cavalry who killed Arapaho and Cheyenne tribal members at the infamous Sand Creek Massacre.

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The BAC funded the Phase III Fort Chambers VR project.

Students will be creating a virtual Fort Chambers that the viewer and walk through, to the narration of Arapaho tribal members who recount the stories told of the massacre by their ancestors.

The BVR is an engagement tool that in Phase III will teach students the use of a software called Tilt Brush and a program called Unity which will allow a student to explore, experience or be involved as if they are actually present in that environment or place.

Buy ‘Beyond Heart Mountain’ about Japanese in Downtown Cheyenne

bhm 1-1What happened to the Japanese residents and businesses on West 17th Street in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming?

Beyond Heart Mountain is available for pre-sale.

It’s not just about the demise of the once vibrant Japanese community in a small town in Wyoming that thrived from the 1920s through the 1960s, but about how downtown areas can be revived by adding new life to them with people.

The story is a historical memoir told through the eyes of the author, a Sansei generation Baby Boomer Cheyenne native, Alan O’Hashi.

The 1st edition 50 page picture book is a short run 8×11″ hard cover book with a dust jacket. The price is $58.99, preview the book by opening the YouTube link. Download a pdf copy of the Beyond Heart Mountain preface.

Pre-orders are being accepted. The release date is the “Day of Remembrance” on February 19th, which commemorates 77 years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that required internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry.

BCM wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!

We at Boulder Community Media (BCM) wish everyone a Merry Christmas. As we move to the end of 2010 and into a new year, we hope that your lives will be prosperous and filled with happiness and great opportunities.

The year began with preparations for the Boulder International Film Festival in February. BCM provided full video coverage of the BIFF capped with exclusive interviews with Alec Baldwin on closing night.

BCM has provided the organization structure for Wyoming Community Media (WCM) which produced the Cheyenne International Film Festival in May screening 35 films over three days at the historic Atlas Theatre in Downtown Cheyenne. Planning is underway for CIFF May 20-22.

The summer time was filled with production work, including partnerships with the Boulder Reporter and  Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine.

Fall brought The Shoot Out Boulder in late September followed by The Shoot Out Cheyenne in mid-October.

How time flies and as we move into the new year, we leave you with a great moment from “The Christmas Gift” starring John Denver. the 1986 film was shot in Georgtown and Beaver Creek, Colorado. Click on the VHS jacket to play the clip.