Calling All Indie Game Developers! Sign Up and Change Education with Virtual Reality
Video game developers, as well as experts in Virtual Reality (VR), are being sought out by the U.S. Department of Education for a project that could change the way students learn forever. The EdSim Challenge, which was launched this month (November), is a contest that seeks to make VR games available in schools.
The challenge is designed to “stimulate the marketplace” for VR technology, and to encourage developers to share their ideas through open source licenses.
The grand prize winner will bag $430,000, while the runner ups will take home $50,000. Developers entering the contest will be judged on how they are looking to change learning and develop students’ skillsets through VR.
The EdSim Challenge is quite similar to the one launched in Australia in 2015 that sought to make STEM education easy and more accessible. Through educational video games, the contest hoped to make STEM subjects more fun and engaging to those who are thinking about having a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The only difference with the one launched in Australia is that the STEM games weren’t made for VR.
Across the world there is still a huge emphasis placed on book-based learning as well as teacher-led lessons. However, this setup is being questioned, and some feel that it is outdated. For advanced subjects, like Math, some of these lessons aren’t always easy to understand, and students have been found to lose their way in the complexities of the subject
Additionally, albeit not a school subject, Video Game Physics, for example, is quite complicated to comprehend. However, for students at college level looking to work in this industry past their studies, it is really important for them to understand everything that is presented to them within the syllabus. The same goes for the Law of Permutation and Combinations, which is something that is used widely in many game-based developers’ algorithms to map out their games. Learning these laws can be more fun, easy, and exciting through the use of VR -based games. All of these variables will need to be deliberated by the EdSim Challenge entrants if they want to be considered for the aforementioned prizes..
The EdSim Challenge is the product of a group of virtual reality advocates who went to Washington to encourage the congress to invest in technology for educational purposes.
John Uvin, the Department of Education’s acting assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education, said that VR headsets could be used to enhance learning environments that are “vocabulary rich” such as STEM subjects.
“(VR could) get us to a point where our infrastructure for learning is not based on brick and mortar,” Uvin said.
So, what are you waiting for, indie game developers? This is your time to shine! For more details about the contest, log on to the official EdSim Contest website.