ASU Prep Digital, Google partner to develop universally accessible streaming curriculum
ASU Prep Digital, an accredited, online K–12 school offered through Arizona State University, has partnered with Google Public Sector to make remote immersive learning technology more accessible to students across the United States and around the world.
ASU Prep Learning Cloud is a streaming solution that empowers schools to deliver innovative and interactive 3D learning experiences to students using low-bandwidth devices. The technology was developed on and is powered by Google Cloud.
This new platform invites students to solve challenges by immersing themselves in interactive settings made possible by technology. Students can watch geologic formations emerge through simulations rather than reading about it in a textbook, or explore human organs in 3D, brining topics like erosion, hydrolysis and human anatomy to life.
To successfully complete a lesson, students must think critically about the concept, explore it and learn through discovery. Real-time, instructive feedback also helps contribute to a more individualized learning experience.
"We’re turning students into explorers by embedding learning into the digital formats that students love,” said David Sudarma, ASU Prep’s chief technology officer. “We spark curiosity by asking students to navigate 3D worlds, hypothesize and discover knowledge by manipulating game-like simulations to solve real-world problems.”
The ASU Prep Learning Cloud represents an important step toward accessibility for students in rural areas, with limited broadband access, and districts where limited technology funding makes it difficult to deliver cutting-edge learning opportunities. This immersive cloud-based education technology can be experienced from mobile devices or Chromebooks, increasing accessibility for all learners, anytime, anywhere. Removing those barriers is especially important for a program like ASU Prep Digital, which can be instrumental in bridging gaps for districts where resources are slim.
“ASU Prep Digital has allowed us to partner and advance educational opportunities for thousands of K–12 students who might not have otherwise had access to the courses, credits, mentors and teachers we offer,” said Arizona State University President Michael Crow, who is widely known as a pioneer of online education.
Crow’s vision has created a tech-enhanced learning environment across ASU, inclusive of pre-collegiate students via ASU Prep Digital. A key element of that vision is expanded opportunities in online education, which offers a path to higher education for students who are otherwise hindered from pursuing their education goals. In addition to its rapidly expanding K–12 enrollment, ASU Prep Digital’s School Partnerships continue to grow. The program supports entire school districts in states like Utah, Louisiana and Ohio, as well as schools in 22 states and 12 countries.
In addition to the full- and part-time students who enroll directly with ASU Prep Digital, the school also teams with private schools, public schools and districts worldwide to offer a K–12 curriculum and one-on-one instruction in a virtual environment. The program’s latest suite of courses, which will be available this fall to partner schools via the ASU Prep Learning Cloud, powered by Google Cloud, can be used in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
As pioneers in their respective industries, ASU Prep Digital and Google Public Sector worked to develop the platform, which is based on game engine technology. The ASU Prep Learning Cloud features responsive design optimized for the most commonly used devices (e.g., Chromebooks, mobile phones) using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
“Our partnership with ASU Prep Digital has the ability to unlock new and innovative academic opportunities for learners across the country,” said Steven Butschi, director of education for Google Public Sector. “We’re unleashing the power of Google Cloud to help make individualized, digital and interactive learning the new standard in education.”
Courses integrate seamlessly into existing learning management systems, while supporting robust interactive features that personalize learning. The platform currently supports ASU Prep Digital partner schools, but in the future, could be rolled out to other educational institutions.
“As immersive technologies become more widely adapted in education, 3D-learning environments such as augmented reality and virtual reality offer great potential for engagement and retention,” Sudarma said. “Our collaboration with Google Public Sector is a terrific first step in expanding access to immersive solutions across many devices, and we’re working together to explore ways immersive technologies can be made even more universally available to eager learners.”