Combining Technology and Education – After-School All-Stars Students Design Educational Virtual Reality Computer Games using VR Quest
After-School All-Stars Students Design Educational Virtual Reality Computer Games using VR Quest™
May 18, 2012, Honolulu, HI – As part of After-School All-Stars’ (ASAS) Career Exploration Opportunities initiative, thirty students are participating in a pilot program called VR Quest™ where they are creating educational virtual reality computer/video games. Once complete, the students will interact in their creations using fully-immersive head-mounted displays. In addition to introducing students to technology and gaming career opportunities, this unique program teaches computer literacy, creative thinking, and personal development. The content is based on “Life on Mars” “Egypt Quest” and “How to be a Hero”. It is the only fully-immersive virtual reality educational game creation program in the country.
After-School All-Stars Hawaii is an affiliate of the leading national provider which offers free, comprehensive after-school programs on nearly 400 school sites across the country. Nationally, we serve over 81,000 low-income students who are enrolled in Title I schools in 15 cities. In Hawaii, we serve nearly 1500 students at eight middle schools on Oahu.
Our academic programs focus on fighting the HS dropout crisis (1.3 million kids drop out every year) by preparing 8th graders for high school, our sports programs help combat the obesity crisis (1/3 of children are obese by the 3rd grade), and our enrichment programs empower children by exposing them to career exploration opportunities as early as the 6th grade and teaching them to give back to their communities through service-learning projects.
Thanks to a collaborative partnership between ASAS, VR Quest™ and generous funding from Sean Satterfield, Complex Director, Hawaiian Islands, UBS Financial Services, ASAS children now have the unique opportunity to learn how to design high-tech video games that have no violent or negative content.
“We wanted at-risk students to share and enjoy emerging technologies and learn from creating games instead of playing games with violent themes. And the best part is the students are able to keep all their games and share them with other students,” said Warren L. Black, CEO of VR Quest™.
In Honolulu and Queens, students have been working in teams, learning about life in ancient Egyptian civilizations and creating a virtual reality universe rich with pyramids and temples, ancient artifacts, and ruling pharaohs. They can also build a way to live on Mars or rescue trapped miners in a mine collapse to understand the attributes of heroism.
“In addition to our students researching topics and incorporating them into the game, our All-Star staff likes the program because it is a great resource to teach history and research skills,” said David Asato, Program Director for ASAS Hawaii. “Our students are able to immediately apply what they have learned into the game creation process, seeing what they just studied come to life on the screen. The students love how gratifying this program is.”
ASAS Hawaii will partner with students from ASAS New York City in building games with the VR Quest™ program and will be sharing their creations.
About After-School All-Stars Hawaii – Founded in 2009, After-School All-Stars Hawaii operates in eight middle schools on Oahu from Kalihi to Palolo to Kaneohe to the Leeward Coast. During the school year, children participate in free programs that include academic support, enrichment opportunities, and health/fitness activities. The organization’s mission is to keep children safe and help them succeed in school and in life. For more information, visit www.asashawaii.org.
About VR Quest™ – VR Quest™ integrates fully–immersive Virtual Reality technology into the classroom. Its mission is to enrich students’ lives by offering high-end computer -based instruction in Virtual Reality and teaching real-life skills through a project-based learning model. To learn more, visit www.vrquest.com.