Veative Labs: Making educational content more accessible through WebVR
Supporting students to understand complex concepts through interactive education.
Veative Labs is creating interactive educational content for the VR supporting students to understand complex concepts with more ease. However, because of the high hardware costs of VR technology and our goal to make our content more accessible, we have developed our content using WebVR. This allows anyone to interact with our education modules, which includes advanced features such as scoring results and tracking user data.
“When I was in school, I had a hard time with some difficult concepts because they were not very easy to visualize. I learned about a car engine and I could tell you about the different items that comprised an engine, however, I could not experience it. VR lets me do that by making it more real.” Ankur Aggarwal, CEO VeativeLabs
The goal for our team is to democratize education. Regardless of one’s socioeconomic condition, every learner should have access to information, in the ways that best suit their own style of learning. There are a lot of visual and kinesthetic learners in this world, and if they can learn by doing - as can uniquely be done in an immersive VR environment - the least we should do is to provide access to this type of technology.
Immersive technologies can allow a student to connect with a concept; which, when correctly presented, allows for different types of learners to engage with, and be compelled to learn more about, a variety of ideas.
“Sometimes, reading about something, seeing a picture of it, or even watching a video doesn’t get you to feel or experience a complex concept. But besides being fun to use, VR can open up completely different ways of connecting topics and concepts. It makes me want to be a student again.” Ankur Aggarwal, CEO VeativeLabs
Technology in and of itself is not the important element… it simply facilitates learning through a variety of means of delivering content. We now live in an age where we can efficiently and effectively connect students with discrete ideas, concepts, and topics.
VR lessons being introduced to schools today are all about the WOW factor and eliciting excitement. However, they often fail to provide a healthy dose of quality, educationally-focused content that inspires inquiry and reflection. The opportunities that VR represents cannot be wasted on “Wow, that’s cool”, instead be used to elicit responses such as "I've got it!", which is precious to any teacher.
FRONTIER TECHNOLOGY & OPEN SOURCE
Our team has previously worked in the education technology (EdTech) space, and through this we have identified early on that VR has unique properties (of immersion, detraction-free, and focused attention) which could be useful in developing educational content, primarily with complex concepts.
We now want this technology to reach as many hands as possible, with the hope of improving the learning process whenever and wherever we can - and open source can help support this. Why? A VR company needs to sell hardware. An education company (Veative) needs to positively affect students, support the efforts of teachers, and increase outcomes in any way we can. Our currency is not in units of hardware but in the positive effect of contributing to a successful learning experience for youngsters everywhere.
TEAM & DIVERSITY
We bring together people of diverse nationalities, varying age groups, ethnicities, economic standings, and backgrounds. What we have found is that regardless of the many differences you can find between us, our individual focus on education is what initially brought us together, and what pushes us all forward. We are stationed all over the world, and while this can be challenging, it allows us to shape ourselves to the specific needs of different regions. It’s a joy to work with a like-minded group of people.
The most interesting aspect of diversity across our team is that of age. EdTech is often the domain of the young, but when you are involved in education, time and experience makes a huge difference. The seasoned among us stress the need to focus on what is right, and not what is right now.
The investment from the UNICEF Innovation Fund allows us to diversify our offering, which will present opportunities of value to investors. Without the investment, we wouldn’t have gotten to WebVR just yet, because we need to choose the most viable path as a for-profit entity. However, the Venture Fund sees that our solution can go along a broader path, which can enhance access. That is a gift, and we are thankful for it!
Furthermore, we wouldn’t call ourselves educators if we didn’t enjoy the opportunity to work with others and achieve our shared goals together. We are excited to be able to collaborate with UNICEF Innovation Fund’s Virtual Reality cohort and find ways to better integrate technologies like VR, ebooks, and LMS (learning management systems) together.
About UNICEF Innovation Fund: The Fund has been specifically designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that has the potential to impact children on a global scale. The core motivation of the IF is to fund "clusters" or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology, like UAVs, Blockchain, Data Science and AI or virtual reality - so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children.
As well as funding the start-up companies, UNICEF’s Innovation Fund will provide product and technology assistance, support with business growth, access to a network of experts and partners. The Fund also actively seeks second-round investment and support for companies it has invested in, as well as the opportunity to scale-up these technologies, when they are successful, in the more than 190 countries and territories where UNICEF operates.
More info: www.unicefinnovationfund.org
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