Launched Today: The EdSim Challenge

Today, the U.S. Department of Education launched the EdSim Challenge with a cash prize pool of $680,000 and additional sponsor prizes from IBM, Microsoft, Oculus, and Samsung. The Challenge calls upon the virtual reality, video game developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century. Successful simulations will pair the engagement of commercial games with rigorous educational content that strengthens academic, technical, and employability skills.

Simulated environments, such as virtual and augmented reality, 3D simulations, and multiplayer video games, are emerging approaches to deliver educational content. Research indicates that simulation-based learning provides students with enriched experiences in information retention, engagement, skills acquisition, and learning outcomes.    

“This initiative is an exciting example of how virtual reality and game technologies can be applied to give students everywhere the tools to prepare for future success,” said Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education. “We encourage developers from all disciplines to answer our call and help define the future of applied learning.”

Those interested in entering the Challenge should submit their simulation concepts here by January 17, 2017. Following close of submissions, a multidisciplinary panel of judges will evaluate the entries and select up 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.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our informational webinar on November 16, 2016 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST to hear an overview of the Challenge and ask questions. Also, see the selection criteria and rules, terms, and conditions.

Join us in creating the future of educational simulations in the classroom!

EdSim Challenge & Ed Prizes Updates

Thank you to everyone who submitted public feedback last year to inform the EdSim Challenge design. Your input about simulated learning subject areas, skill sets, technical considerations, and more has been invaluable in shaping the Challenge design. We are currently working hard to finalize the next steps in the Challenge.

To stay informed of all EdSim Challenge updates, please sign up for our newsletter here. We also encourage you to take a look at the other live prize competitions from the U.S. Department of Education that seek to prepare students for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of tomorrow:

  • Reach Higher Career App Challenge – Launched in October 2015, the Challenge called upon app developers, educators, and data mavens to submit mobile app solutions that will help students navigate education and career pathways, including career and technical education (CTE). Five finalists advanced to the Virtual Accelerator phase of the competition to refine their solutions in preparation for a live Demo Day at the White House in July 2016. Please stay tuned for the grand prize winner announcement, coming soon!
  • CTE Makeover Challenge – Launched in March 2016, the Challenge called on high schools to design makerspaces that strengthen next-generation career and technical skills. Makerspaces provide students the materials and environment they need to create, invent, tinker, and explore, helping them build vital career skills. Nearly 650 schools from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. entered the Challenge, and participated in the CTE Makeover Challenge Bootcamp to finalize their makerspace designs. 10 prize winners were announced at the White House during the 2016 National Week of Making, and are currently building out their spaces and preparing for a showcase at the World Maker Faire in October 2016.

Visit to learn more!

EdSim Challenge Calls for Public Feedback on Simulated Learning Environments

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will launch the EdSim Challenge, which will call upon the gaming, developer, and edtech communities to design simulated environments that prepare America’s students for a more competitive world through high-quality career and technical education.

Today, ED has launched a call for public feedback, which will help shape the Challenge design. You can submit your feedback through December 9, 2015 about simulated learning subject areas, skill sets, technical considerations, and more.

What’s the goal of the Challenge?

Simulated learning experiences, such as immersive gaming environments, virtual reality, and training simulations, represent an emerging class of instructional content delivery in education. Research indicates that simulation-based learning holds advantages for students in terms of information retention, engagement, skills training, and learning outcomes.

The Challenge will seek engaging simulated learning experiences that will help define the next generation of applied learning and pair immersive technologies with rigorous educational content and integrated assessment. Specifically, solutions should demonstrate the transfer of academic, technical, and employability skills.

What’s next in the Challenge?

Following the call for public feedback, ED will finalize the Challenge design. In Spring 2016, the Challenge will open for submissions.

Help us spread the word about the call for public feedback using #EdSimChallenge. We look forward to hearing from you!