Highlights from Demo Day at the Department of Education

On September 18, 2017 the Virtual Accelerator phase culminated with the EdSim Challenge Demo Day, where a live audience joined the Challenge judges at the Department Of Education to see the five finalists compete for the $430,000 grand prize.

It was an action-packed day. Below are a few highlights: 

The U.S. Department of Education shared its vision

To kick off the day, Sharon Lee Miller, Director, Division of Academic and Technical Education for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, delivered opening remarks. She laid out the potential for educational simulations, highlighting areas such as efficacy and access:

“Simulations are well-suited for career and technical education for a number of reasons, they encourage applied learning by interacting with objects and people, and by mimicking real-world situations, simulations enhance employability skills, including interpersonal, analytical and organizational abilities. Furthermore, they increase student safety, allow for diverse rates of progress amongst students, and boost access to programs with limited resources.”

“Father of the Internet”, Vint Cerf, validates the effort
Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, spoke to the exciting future ahead for VR and AR technologies in learning. Taking the long view, he challenged the audience to think about how to best prepare today’s students for 80-year careers.

The finalists presented their solutions 

Each finalist presented their seven-minute pitch to the live audience, including judges hailing from organizations including Ford, Microsoft, and Girls Who Code. While the finalists focused on a range of career and technical skills from surgical training to archeology, they all spoke to the power of this immersive medium as a learning tool and demonstrated what virtual and augmented reality can do for education and the future of our workforce.

Participants experienced the immersive demos

During the demo portion of the day, the judges and attendees had the chance to fully immerse themselves in each simulation. From a hands-on visit to the operating room to an exploration of astronomy concepts, the participants tried a wide range of educational experiences that teach career and technical skills.

Stay tuned for the winner announcement

The EdSim Challenge winner will be announced soon. Follow along by subscribing to our newsletter or following @EdPrizes and #EdSimChallenge on Twitter.