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Education Dept Kicks Off Simulation Concept Challenge

virtual trainingThe Education Department has unveiled a $680,000 competition that calls upon participants from the virtual reality, video game developer and educational technology communities to design new types of simulations to help boost career and technical skills.

The Department said Wednesday that participants of the EdSim Challenge will be asked to submit concepts for immersive simulations designed to prepare students for the 21st century workforce.

EdSim will also look to support the development of computer-generated virtual and augmented reality educational experiences that will integrate existing and future technologies with various skill-building content, the department noted.

“We encourage developers from all disciplines to answer our call and help define the future of applied learning,” said Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for career, technical and adult education at the Education Department.

The department noted students who have participated in digital learning simulation, such as virtual and augmented reality and 3D simulation environments, for science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning recorded a 23 percent higher achievement rating compared to non-digital learners.

Interested participants can submit simulation concepts until Jan. 17, 2017 and a multidisciplinary panel of judges will evaluate received submissions and select up to five finalists that will advance to the “Virtual Accelerator” phase of the challenge.

The department added that selected finalists will each receive $50,000 and gain access to expert mentorship to support the further development of their respective concepts as well as its simulation prototype.

The remainder of the $680,000 prize money will be awarded to the EdSim challenge winner along with additional sponsor prizes from IBM, Microsoft, Oculus and Samsung.

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