Connecting the dots between learning
and employment.

Hackfort 3 and PTECH

Hackfort_Idaho PTECH Students

Imagine a world where virtual reality is the norm and many experiences like training, sight seeing, and entertainment are readily available. With the development of virtual reality, these experiences can erase physical limitations and allow a user to experience an escape into a different space all together. This is just what the PTECH students who attended Hackfort 3 were challenged to imagine.   

At Hackfort 3, students had the opportunity to hear about the innovations in virtual reality and to be part of the conversation about where this technology can take us. They heard about the shortage of content for virtual reality and how game developers are being pressed into service to develop virtual reality content. Students also learned about the various equipment and platforms being used to deliver and drive content creation from industry experts.

Students were then challenged to develop their own 3-D maze game for a PTECH contest. They used Unity to create their games and worked in groups or independently. While many students chose to work “independently,” it was clear that all of the students were collaborating, sharing ideas, and helping one another toward the same goal – completing a functional game. Students worked late into the night and overcame many challenges to deliver a game to contest judges the following morning.

The winning entrants were:

  • 1 st place - Nat Akin (I-DEA) and Devina Orndorff (Marsing)
  • 2nd place – Samantha Wilcox (Weiser)
  • 3rd place – Tate Anderst (Kuna)
  • Judge’s Award – Brandon Michelsen and Caleb Elsom

Each game was unique and interactive. Students with more experience added elements such as textures and directional camera movement, but all completed the challenge. The judging was very difficult and the judges were a little motion sick by the end of the judging; however, all of the games were creative, engaging, and challenging to win.

Over the weekend, students also explored the idea of employability skills. They were given five employability skills to focus on and were randomly rewarded if “caught” demonstrating these skills during the weekend. The skills focused on were: communication, teamwork, integrity, initiative, and problem solving. Not only were students rewarded and complimented for demonstrating these highly sought after skills, but the students who consistently displayed these skills were awarded an Employability Skills Certificate at the end of the weekend.

The winning students for the Employability Skills Challenge were:

  • Brandon Michelsen (Forrest Bird Charter School)
  •  Damien Spencer (Kellogg High School)
  • Wyatt Huckaby (Forrest Bird Charter School)
  • Caleb Rice (Kuna High School)
  • Nat Akin (Idaho Distance Education Academy)
  • Tate Anderst (Kuna High School)
  • Devina Orndorff (Marsing High School)

It was great weekend full of tech conversations and building friendships. We can’t wait to come back next year!