'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.
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.