Few people involved in VR and augmented reality are unconvinced that these emerging technologies will have a profound effect on education and teaching. As has been seen in both Second Life and Open Simulator, even without immersive VR, virtual environments offer a huge opportunity to education.
Now High Fidelity is joining in, and is doing so in a novel but enticing way: by offering up to three US$5,000 grants to teams or individuals who want to build educational content within High Fidelity.
The new of the opportunity, which the HiFi team is calling the “STEM VR Challenge” (STEM being the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in education), was made via a blog post on the High Fidelity website from Ryan Karpf. In it, Ryan says:
High Fidelity recently had the pleasure of showing off our open source virtual reality platform to educators and technical integrators at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia.
To demonstrate one way educators can use our platform, High Fidelity worked with DynamoidApps to develop an interactive model of an animal cell that can be explored on one’s own or with an entire class. The vast alien looking environment goes beyond just showing the parts of the cell, also showing some of the processes taking place. Travelling around with your classmates and teacher allows for real time question and answers and sharing of ideas.
If you want to visit this animal cell, login and go to cellscience/start, and fly towards any cell you see to begin your journey. Hitch a ride on a motor protein and jump off at one of the huge mitochondria along the way!
The model itself, in keeping with High Fidelity’s open-source approach to their platform, is being offered free to any who wishes to modify it, with the companying hoping it will become the first of a catalogue of educational units created within High Fidelity.
To further kick-start things, High Fidelity are inviting educators, be they individuals or groups, to take up the STEM VR Challenge, to submit proposals for educational content in High Fidelity which meets the criteria set-out in the Challenge website, namely that the content is:
- HMD (e.g. Oculus Rift) featured
- High school age appropriate
- STEM focused
- Social (can be experienced by >3 people together)
Proposals meeting these criteria and abiding by the rules and are eligible to enter the Challenge, should be submitted via e-mail to eduvrgrant-at-highfidelity.com. On offer are up to three grants of US$5,000 apiece to help further develop the selected ideas. In addition, awardees will have direct access to High Fidelity’s technical support, and have their content hosted by High Fidelity. To find out more, follow the links to the High Fidelity blog and the STEM VR website.
With thanks to Indigo Mertel for the pointer.