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Eastern Iowa Community Colleges Gains $780,000 NSF Grant for VR Water Project

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) was recently awarded a $784,218 grant through 2020 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project focused on developing a virtual reality (VR) educational curriculum for water management.

The grant, which will be administered by EICC’s Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATTEC), will be used to fund “Water Intense: Interactive Technology Education.” The project involves “developing a virtual reality education curriculum for water, wastewater and agriculture technologies and conservation,” said Ellen Kabat Lensch, EICC vice chancellor for workforce and economic development, in a university statement. “Once completed, we will share that curriculum with two-year colleges across the nation.”

“Through our ATEEC program we have been developing curriculum for both colleges and high schools, in many different subject areas, for at least two decades,” Kabat Lensch continued. “We’re very proud to have the National Science Foundation and others look to us for this work.”

EICC opened an EON Reality Interactive Digital Center last September. Designated by California-based virtual and augmented reality company EON Reality as an EON Entrepreneurship School, EICC runs an EON Innovation Academy program at the lab that “teaches the skills needed to be successful in creating Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality content and applications for industry and training,” the company’s website explains. “These skills also enable students to work in architecture and product visualization, game creation, multimedia design and broadcast media.” Students are trained for 11 months, seven of which are spent working on an industry project.

EICC is only one of four EON Reality Innovation Academies in the United States. A $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration was used to purchase the equipment for the lab.

Learn more about EICC’s VR and AR lab by watching the video below.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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