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Glendale to Be the First Community College to Partner with Dreamscape Learn to Bring VR Learning to Campus

California's Glendale Community College (GCC) will be the first community college, in partnership with Dreamscape Learn, to bring virtual reality (VR) introductory science learning to campus. The program will be housed in a new Virtual Reality Center, funded by a $4.5 million state grant.

The college said its decision to pursue this form of learning was prompted by the success of the program at Arizona State University (ASU), which began its immersive biology "Alien Zoo" curriculum in 2022. The Dreamscape Learn program began as a collaboration between DreamWorks Motions Pictures founder Walter Parkes and ASU.

Grant funding for the center and program at GCC was obtained by Senator Anthony Portantino, who made the request in the 2022-23 state budget for a five-year pilot program to explore the use of VR in science, creativity, and education classes. The new center will be built on GCC's Verdugo campus, between the planetarium and a new 116,000-square-foot science building. The center is scheduled to open in 2024.

As at ASU, GCC biology students will use the immersive VR lab to act as biologists to solve real-world science problems. Other subject environments can be built as well, such as architecture, history, and more. The college also plans to make the center and Dreamworks Learn courseware available to dual-enrollment high school students.

"We've been really impressed by the results at Arizona State, and are excited to bring this powerful educational experience to our campus," said Ryan Cornner, GCC's superintendent/president. "We're grateful for Senator Portantino's unwavering dedication to fostering innovation in the classroom."

Since 2022, more than 12,000 ASU students have taken the "Alien Zoo" lab. Grade outcomes for students in the course showed that "students who participated in the Dreamscape Learn version of the course had dramatically higher lab grades and better engagement than their peers who took the conventional lab course," the university said. Following this success, ASU now holds all its introductory biology wet labs in the Dreamscape Lab. Go here to learn more.

"Storytelling is the age-old bridge between knowledge and imagination," said Parkes. "Our large-scale implementations at ASU have made clear that using VR to immerse students in compelling cinematic narratives is driving new levels of motivation and persistence. We are thrilled to be partnering with Glendale Community College, which has been at the forefront of preparing students for both academic and workforce success across Los Angeles and beyond."

See the Dreamscape Learn home page to learn more about what it offers.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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