Exploring a New Frontier in Education
Earlier this month, I was invited by Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, to experience the latest in experiential learning, Dreamscape Learn.
A collaboration between Walter Parkes, Steven Spielberg, and Dreamscape Immersive, Dreamscape Learn is a virtual reality laboratory that transports users to an orbiting wildlife sanctuary for endangered life forms. Reflecting the key concepts taught in introductory biology, students explore, observe, collect digital specimens, and confront issues arising in wildlife refuges on Earth. Thanks to a partnership between the school and Dreamscape, students at ASU are among the first to participate in this groundbreaking experience.
During my visit, Dr. Crow discussed new initiatives the school was currently undertaking. We had the opportunity to experience 3 different Dreamscape simulations, all focusing on a different element of learning. These included a galactic wildlife refuge, where we collected samples on a distant planet, a thrilling walk-through adventure, and a virtual classroom experience, where our class interacted in real-time with a teacher located across the country.
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has been a strong supporter of ASU, most recently providing a $2 million grant to advance outcomes in math and computer science for low-income students in Arizona’s K-12 schools. Similar to ASU’s Dreamscape Learn effort, we want to help advance ASU’s exploration of technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to drive educational achievement.
Speaking further with Dr. Crow, he emphasized his goal to evolve the way children are educated, eventually expanding further than the university. In the future, he believes students without access to museums, or interactive learning environments, will soon have the opportunity to explore the world with a rich learning experience from the comfort of their homes. Making education more accessible has long been a key focus of mine, and to witness this first-hand had me beyond optimistic for the future of learning.
Dreamscape Learn will soon be available to ASU students, with an expansion into additional subjects targeted for 2022. I sincerely believe in the incredibly innovative vision Dr. Crow has not only for his students at ASU, but education as a whole. I cannot wait to see how technology further develops educational experiences for students worldwide, and look forward to continuing our partnership with Dr. Crow and the university.