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 competition 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.

The Education Department 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 competition 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 http://www.edsimchallenge.com/.

The EdSim Challenge is part of a series of prize competitions conducted by ED that 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.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura


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