November 21, 2016

New VR/AR Competition

New U.S. Department of Education VR/AR Accelerator Competition

“Seeking next-generation educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills.”

The U. S. Department of Education recently announced a $680K competition, the EDSIM CHALLENGE, for individuals or groups to develop new and immersive VR/AR experiences for use in education. In this multi-winner competition, 5 finalists will receive $50,000, while 1 grand prize winner will receive $430,000. In addition, Samsung will offer a Galaxy S7 Edge, a Galaxy Tab S2 9.7″, a Gear S3 watch, a Gear VR headset, and an Oculus Mobile software developer kit (SDK) to each of the five finalists. Additional prizes will likely be announced later. The deadline for First Round Submissions is 4:59:59 PM ET on January 17, 2017.
 “Successful simulations will pair the engagement of commercial games with rigorous educational content to prepare students for the 21st century workforce” and will “help define the future of applied learning.”
This opportunity is open to a wide audience, but note the all-important specifics here: “[They are] looking for concepts for immersive simulations that transfer academic, technical, and employability skills.” In the application, they specifically ask: “How might your simulation fit into a future ecosystem of simulations for career and technical education (CTE)?” Digging deeper reveals that this competition is being offered under the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) (can you say “vocational education?”) Plus, there's the '"applied learning" notion mentioned above. 

So it appears to me that any VR/AR submittal in the arts, social sciences, literature, or in elementary school content will likely sit on thin ice. That’s my thinking.

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