The Iowa company creates virtual classrooms for 10 schools

Students from 10 schools around the country will be able to visit historic settings and work on cutting cadavers, everything from the comfort of their homes, after an Iowa group in specializes in the actual production of digital campuses.

During illness, students at Morehouse College in Atlanta reported struggling with online learning. The university came to VictoryXR, a company based in Davenport, Iowa. CEO Steve Grubbs has the solution: build a virtual copy of the campus.

Students and faculty introduce virtual-reality topics to participate in a three-dimensional simulation, computer simulation of real-world locations and events. Users who are immersed in real -life, called the metaverse, can move through the simulation and interact with others.

Over the course of 10 weeks, faculty at Morehouse developed the lessons for the project, and VictoryXR built the metaverse. At Morehouse, inorganic chemistry, earth history and biology courses were used in the program.

“The next thing you see, their students are taking classes in the metaverse,” Grubbs said. “The first university in the world.”

Steve Grubbs founded VictoryXR, founded in Davenport, Iowa, in 2016. (Posted)
Steve Grubbs founded VictoryXR, founded in Davenport, Iowa, in 2016. (Posted)

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, partnered with VictoryXR to expand its “metaversities” after implementing digital classrooms at Morehouse College and Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Morehouse is one of 10 high schools that will qualify for virtual classrooms through a grant from Meta. According to a public documentation filed by The Chronicle of Higher Education, universities will receive more than $ 500,000 in virtual-reality headsets under their agreements with VictoryXR.

Grubbs said virtual meeting programs like Zoom can’t recreate student experience that is available in virtual reality.

“In a metaversity, you get together and you’re in a classroom where you can hold hands, you can work on projects together, you can break up small groups, “said Grubbs. “A teacher can take a human heart out of a corpse and give it to a student. That’s the bottom line. It’s like a brick-and-mortar classroom, much better.

Grubbs said students working in the metaverse get the same education they get on campus, and in some ways better.

Grubbs said most health sciences benefit from virtual knowledge, but historical courses can be expanded through the metaverse. Enrollment on campus is declining and distance learning is increasing in demand, Grubbs said, which requires kinesthetic, or manual.

One VictoryXR simulation developed is the courtroom from Harper Lee’s old story, “Kill a Mockingbird.” When students discuss the book in class, they can sit on a jury or in a judge’s chair.

“You can understand the book from the perspective of the people sitting in the courtroom,” Grubbs said. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish, it’s the knowledge that can be gained by living there. Students can stand in the Great Wall of China, they can travel to Iceland and they can visit the Redwoods forest as they learn with our real life.

Grubbs served at Iowa House from 1990 to 1996, serving as chairman of the Housing Education Committee. He said he was always interested in developing new ways to improve education. Buffalo Elementary School in Buffalo, Iowa was the first school to use the VictoryXR real education program. Schools around the world are using VictoryXR’s product. Saint Ambrose University in Davenport is the first higher education institution in Iowa to have a metaversity.

“They’ll be directly connected to the University of Kansas, West Virginia, Cal State, and other universities across the country,” Grubbs said.

Data collection

Meta provides each university with Oculus Quest 2 virtual-reality topics, which can collect data during use.

In the metaverse, students can create avatars to interact with classmates from remote locations.  (VictoryXR)
In the metaverse, students can create avatars to interact with classmates from remote locations. (VictoryXR)

All agreements to request public articles from The Chronicle saw the universities retain ultimate control of the data produced by the organization. Data collection will depend on the brand of headers that students use, according to Grubbs. The technology can come from offerings from Meta, Pico Technology or HTC, all with their own privacy policy.

At this time, Grubbs says no information will be collected from users. VictoryXR does not collect any information other than the email address and username to set up an account.

Users need to create a Facebook account to access the virtual classroom. Under Meta’s data policy, Oculus products may collect information about physical features and information from third -party applications. Sharing information between three -page apps allows the team to connect users with friends who also use the app, such as Meta.

Environmental data, size and mobility will be recorded to alert users if they approach a virtual limit. The hand -drawn ideas will be collected to make a hands -on approach.

What’s next?

VictoryXR hopes to expand the business so that every school in the world has a metaversity over the next five to seven years, Grubbs said. The team spoke with several universities in Iowa. He plans to meet soon with the University of Iowa to talk about the future of virtual classrooms at the university.

VictoryXR is opening its first metaversity in Europe in August and Grubbs plans to bring a business development assistant to India in September. The company also won the world award for best educational practice last September.

Grubbs hopes the industry will improve on the real thing. In fact, the students are full and usually work at a distance. Augmented reality creates virtual objects that are seen in a real -world classroom.

“They don’t have to fly on the ground and stay on a campus because the metaverse is a campus,” he said.

This story was produced by Iowa Capital Dispatch, a company of the States Newsroom. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook a Twitter.

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