Unity is the well-known and respected development platform for games, virtual worlds, virtual reality, and interactive simulations. Unity development has long been a staple in student clubs, high school and vocational school curricular offerings, professional/ professional technical institutes, and even university computer science and game design programs. So why the tremendous rise in educator interest over the last two years at major ed-tech conferences? Clearly, increased fascination with gamification, virtual reality, STEM, and student-created content helps explain this swelling of customer interest.
Another factor behind the surging interest of educators is that Unity used the recent ISTE conference venue to announce some education-specific breaking news:
A refreshed mission. Unity now explains that they are “dedicated to working with educational institutions worldwide to help foster innovative learning and exploration in variety of areas including game development and interactive experiences and content, including virtual reality.”
A structural update. Unity has recently formed a dedicated GlobalEducation unit.
A certification for education program. This includes Unity-certified developer courseware, certification exams, and even certification events.
A training and certification partner program. Unity Technologies aims to give “academic institutions, training businesses, and resellers the opportunity to tap into the growing community of Unity developers seeking professional development and certification.”
New academic pricing. Aimed at supporting game development programs, education software license bundles (i.e., educator pricing) are now available for purchase by academic institutions.
Free Resources for Educators. Unity has developed an Educator Toolkit aimed at helping educators to create, tailor, or shape a Unity teaching curriculum for their classrooms.
An educator grant program. Free Unity education software licenses to help K-12 instructors implement game development courses.
On another note, I noticed that Unity is not shying away from the emerging virtual reality market either. I find them as one of the most knowledgeable vendors on the floor in relationship to VR in eduation; they are also knowledgeable about the stubborn vision health issues that can plague VR implementations in education.