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Dreamscape Immersive, ASU launch bold partnership to bring cutting-edge virtual reality to learners worldwide

September 18, 2020

'Dreamscape Learn' to transform educational experience through exploration

Editor’s note:  This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020.

Dreamscape Immersive, the world’s leading virtual reality company, and Arizona State University, the most innovative university in the United States, have teamed up to transform education through exploration.

The new partnership, Dreamscape Learn, merges the emotional power of the best Hollywood storytelling with the nation’s leader in online and digitally enhanced education to deliver fully immersive VR learning systems to the ASU community and beyond.

Dreamscape Learn will add avatar-driven VR experiences to both campus-based and online courses, starting with introductory biology and eventually expanding throughout the sciences and beyond. The partnership will also include the establishment of immersive, experiential Dreamscape Learn Labs on ASU campuses, where students will work beside leading-edge science, arts and engineering faculty to solve problems, explore and engage with virtual worlds and spaces that are attuned to specific courses and disciplines.


With the launch of this educational partnership, ASU joins a list of Dreamscape investors and partners that includes some of the biggest names in media and entertainment, including WarnerMedia, Viacom, Disney, AMC, IMAX, Steven Spielberg, and Hans Zimmer.  ASU President Michael M. Crow said the partnership will push the boundaries and set the standard for how people learn in the 21st century and help eliminate learning gaps for students.

“We’ve always known there is huge potential to unlock new learning realms for students by merging VR — and all that it empowers educationally and socially — with advanced, adaptive educational experiences,” Crow said. “Through Dreamscape Learn, students of all ages will be able to explore completely different worlds and perform complex learning, discovery and problem-solving tasks that you wouldn’t be able to do in a traditional learning environment or lab in a campus setting.”

Dreamscape CEO Walter Parkes adds, “We believe that 2020 will be seen as an inflection point in the history of education — the moment when society recognized it had both the urgent need and the digital tools to provide first-class educational experiences remotely to a previously unimaginable number of students in previously unimaginable ways. We intend for Dreamscape Learn to be a uniquely important educational asset moving forward.”

The initial Dreamscape Learn experience built for ASU students will be based on Dreamscape’s first original VR adventure, Alien Zoo, which transports users to an orbiting wildlife sanctuary for endangered life-forms from the far corners of the universe. The concept was developed by Dreamscape Immersive co-founder Parkes, along with Academy Award-winning director and producer Steven Spielberg.

For Dreamscape Learn, the Alien Zoo will become an immense VR “laboratory” that allows students to explore, observe and collect digital specimens and solve problems that reflect the key concepts taught in introductory biology. Working independently or in teams, students will confront issues arising in real wildlife refuges on Earth, such as treating infectious diseases, managing genetic diversity and balancing food webs. In doing so, they will complete the requisite coursework for introductory biology in an entirely new, experiential way. 

A student uses the Dreamscape virtual reality Alien Zoo experience from his desk

Dreamscape Immersive has created and exhibited VR experiences with a revolutionary proprietary technology that enables a level of immersion never before achieved in the industry. Unlike all other VR companies, Dreamscape’s leadership comes from the worlds of Hollywood motion pictures, the Disney world of imagination and theme-park attractions, and global live music events.

Parkes and Crow agree that teaching, learning and discovery are at the center of our society’s ability to adapt to new and unexpected challenges. They are designing Dreamscape Learn initiatives with full academic rigor to empower student learning, enhance learning outcomes and accelerate technological innovations that will have broad societal impact.

With more than 230 learning and education technology partners, ASU has long embraced technology as an asset in enhancing learning outcomes, both by expanding access to a university education and by enhancing the learning experience. Dreamscape Learn will offer new opportunities for education through exploration, providing virtual and augmented reality for learning, direct links to human cognition, intelligent tutoring through verbal query, and tools for group learning.

Dreamscape Learn is expected to be available to students in 2021 with rapid expansion into other subjects by 2022.

Top image: The initial Dreamscape Learn experience built for ASU students will be based on Dreamscape’s first original VR adventure, Alien Zoo, an orbiting wildlife sanctuary for endangered life-forms from the far corners of the universe.

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New faces in the School of International Letters and Cultures

September 18, 2020

ASU’s School of International Letters and Cultures is proud to welcome 10 new faculty members and one postdoctoral scholar in the fall 2020 semester.

These accomplished individuals bring new courses, research interests, and experience to the school as it continues to expand its language and culture offerings. Meet the newest members of the School of International Letters and Cultures:

Britta Ager, assistant professor, classics

Britta Ager

Britta Ager joins the school’s classics program. She received her PhD in classical studies from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include Roman history, ancient agriculture, ritual and magic, and sensory studies.

She has taught at a variety of institutions across the United States, most recently Colorado College.

Hope M. Anderson, clinical assistant professor, Spanish

Hope Anderson

Hope Anderson is joining the Spanish and Portuguese section as its new director of Spanish second language acquisition. She received her PhD in second language acquisition and teaching from the University of Arizona. Her research interests include second language curriculum design and technology. Her first book, "Blended Basic Language Courses: Design, Pedagogy, and Implementation," was published in 2018. Most recently, she was an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

María José Domínguez, instructor, Spanish

Maria Jose Dominguez

María José Domínguez

María José Domínguez joins the Spanish and Portuguese section to teach Spanish. She received her PhD and MA in Spanish from Arizona State University. Her research focuses on cultural studies, literature, pedagogy, female writers, and female fictional characters. She has published in journals such as Ámbitos Feministas and Comedia Performance. She is an editorial assistant to the journal Laberinto. She previously worked as a journalist for El Mundo, the second-largest newspaper in Spain, and has taught around the world. This semester, she will be pursuing certification as a Global Advocate at ASU.

Hiroko Hino, instructor, Japanese

Hiroko Hino is joining the school’s East and Southeast Asian section. She received her MA in applied linguistics from the University of Sydney. Her research interests include Japanese language pedagogy, second language acquisition and systemic functional linguistics. She has been teaching for over 30 years in Japan, Australia, and the United States. She previously worked for CET Academic Programs in Osaka, Japan.

Judit Kroo, assistant professor, Japanese

Judit Kroo

Judit Kroo joins the school's East and Southeast Asian section. She was previously a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Vassar College. She received her PhD in Japanese from Stanford University. Her research examines how younger adults use language and embodied practice to contest and re-frame ideologies associated with standard or desirable ways of living. She has published articles in journals such as Language, Culture and Society, The Journal of East Asian Popular Culture, Discourse and Communication, and Pragmatics and Society.

Norma Lopez, instructor, Spanish

Norma Lopez

Norma Lopez is joining the Spanish and Portuguese section. She received her PhD in Spanish literature and culture from Arizona State University. Her research focuses on Indigenous women, particularly the cultural, political and social dimensions of subordination. She has published in the journal Feministas Unidas and has a recent contribution in a monograph on the literary productions of the Bolivian writer Gaby Vallejo. She worked as a Spanish professor in Shenyang, China, for one year as part of a partnership between ASU and Northeastern University to offer a dual degree in Spanish and English for Chinese students.

Natalie Lozinski-Veach, assistant professor,German

Natalie Lozinski Veach

Natalie Lozinski-Veach

Natalie Lozinski-Veach joins the German program. She received her PhD in comparative literature from Brown University. Her research focuses on the intersection between critical aesthetic theory and the environmental humanities, especially animal studies, in 20th-century and 21st-century German and Polish literature. She has published articles in the journal MLN on the poet Paul Celan and the philosopher Walter Benjamin. She has previously taught at Williams College and the University of West Georgia.

Cezar Medeiros, senior lecturer,Portuguese

Cezar Madeiros

Cezar Medeiros is joining the school’s Spanish and Portuguese section. A native of Brazil, he received his PhD in second language acquisition/applied linguistics from Purdue University.

His research interests include teaching methodologies and online language acquisition.

Yueru Ni, lecturer, Chinese

Yueru Ni

Yueru Ni joins the school’s Chinese Flagship Program from the University of Iowa, where she received her MA in Asian civilizations with a focus on teaching Chinese as a second language. She also holds an MPhil in linguistics from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research interests include second-language acquisition, grammar pedagogy, and language learning motivation. the past years, she has taught Chinese at the college level in China, Laos, the Netherlands , and the United States.

Lindsey Patterson, instructor, ASL

Lindsey Patterson

Lindsey Patterson is joining the American Sign Language program. She received her PhD in modern U.S. and disability history from The Ohio State University and her MA in ASL and deaf studies from Gallaudet University. Her work has been published in the Oxford University Handbook on Disability History, Journal of Social History, and Journal of Women's History. She was a senior writer and adviser for the 2020 Netflix documentary "Crip Camp and serves on the editorial board for the Disability Studies Quarterly.

W. Scott Wells, postdoctoral scholar, Korean

W. Scott Wells

W. Scott Wells joins the East and Southeast section to teach Korean as part of a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Korea Foundation. He received his PhD in Korean language and literature from the University of British Columbia, where he also taught a variety of courses. His research interests include the history and development of East Asian inscriptional practices and the 20th-century transition from cosmopolitan writing to vernacular writing in Korea.

Kimberly Koerth

Content Writer , School of International Letters and Cultures