The U.S. Department of Education has launched the EdSim Challenge, a $680,000 competition to design the next-generation of educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills. The Challenge calls upon the virtual reality, video game developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century.
"This initiative is an exciting example of how virtual reality and game technologies can be applied to give students everywhere the tools to prepare for future success," said Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education. "We encourage developers from all disciplines to answer our call and help define the future of applied learning."
Simulated digital learning environments, such as virtual and augmented reality, 3D simulations, and multiplayer video games, are an emerging approach to deliver educational content, and provide students with enriched experiences in information retention, engagement, skills acquisition, and learning outcomes.
Students who participate in digital learning simulations for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning had a 23 percent higher achievement rating than those who do not.
The Challenge seeks to spur the development of computer-generated virtual and augmented reality educational experiences that combine existing and future technologies with skill-building content and assessment.
Collaboration is encouraged among the developer community to make aspects of simulations available through open source licenses and low-cost shareable components.
ED is most interested in simulations that pair the engagement of commercial games with educational content that transfers academic, technical, and employability skills.
Those interested in participating in the Challenge should submit their simulation concepts by Jan. 17, 2017.
A multidisciplinary panel of judges will evaluate the submissions and select up to five finalists to advance to the Virtual Accelerator phase.
Each finalist will be awarded $50,000 and gain access to expert mentorship as they refine their concept and build a simulation prototype.
The Challenge winner(s) will be awarded the remainder of the $680,000 prize money and additional sponsor prizes from IBM, Microsoft, Oculus, and Samsung.
For a complete list of Challenge rules, visit www.edsimchallenge.com
The EdSim Challenge is part of a series of prize competitions conducted by ED which seek to spur the development of new technology, products, and resources that will prepare students for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of tomorrow.
The series is funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. Learn more at: www.edprizes.com
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