Riding the Wave of Emerging Technology
Shenzhen, China, the Silicon Valley of the East, sits on top of the ever-changing landscape of tech innovation and educational leaders are taking notice. The International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (ISNS), currently in its inaugural year in a new state-of-the-art facility, is making waves in the field of tech integration by being at the forefront of developing and incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) technology in the classroom. Led by Paola Paulino, Director of VR Immersive Technology Education, ISNS students are riding a cutting-edge movement and helping to shape the direction of this powerful new media.
Since the summer of 2016, Ms. Paulino has worked to establish a viable VR program at ISNS. Her tech lab is equipped with multiple HTC Vive VR headsets and computers powerful enough to crush the required kilobytes needed for a fluid immersion of VR technology in the classroom.
Recently, all of Ms. Paulino’s preparations have crested with an amazing educational opportunity to collaborate with the company who created this high-tech hardware. HTC Vive has taken notice of Ms. Paulino’s incredible efforts and the creative potential of her students. The collaboration between Ms. Paulino, ISNS students, and HTC Vive is an exemplary model of how taking risks and putting yourself out there can lead to incredible, real-life educational opportunities for students.
In January 2017, John Cremer from the South China Morning Post wrote an article focused on the tech savvy students at ISNS and their teacher and mentor, Ms. Paulino. Since then the school has been recognized by the international VR community as "one of the world's first educational facilities now making instruction in virtual reality (VR) and related tools a key part of the curriculum".
Shortly after, Alvin Wang Graylin, China Regional President of HTC Vive, tweeted about HTC’s aim to be a “key driver” in the push to bring VR into classrooms, Ms. Paulino was contacted by HTC stating their interest in her endeavours at ISNS. Graylin invited Ms. Paulino and her students to attend an exhibition held in Shenzhen to train users how to harness their versatile new VR accessory, the Vive Tracker. According to the Vive website the Tracker;
“brings any real-world object into your virtual world! Add it to specially-designed accessories to play your favorite games. Attach it to a camera and put yourself in your own mixed reality videos.”
Graylin, his associates, and CEO of Langzou Technologies, Dabo Chen, then visited ISNS to share some apps still in development to get some feedback from grade 12 students who have been learning about various applications of VR. The ISNS crew had the chance to test the many mixed reality (MR) features of the new Vive Tracker as well as the Langzou VR Podium. A product bringing mixed reality into the classroom, making learning more immersive. MR allows the user to be superimposed on an external monitor so audience members can see them in the virtual world. It is a great way to have shared experiences and keep those on the periphery engaged.
After the visit from HTC and Langzou, the students were fired up about the seemingly limitless possibilities this emerging technology offers. Graylin, sharing in the excitement, tweeted this positive affirmation that VR has a strong footing in education citing his visit to ISNS.
He gave a shout out to Ms. Paulino and invited the ISNS tech crew to participate in the My Dream VR contest.
My VR Dream is a call for student groups across the world to formally present ideas of how to apply immersive VR technology in an educational or entertaining capacity. From concept art to control rigging, students must make a convincing sales pitch as to why their idea should be chosen. The chosen team would receive funds and support to help bring their game to market.
Not missing a beat, the ISNS crew had a brainstorming session to generate potential ideas.
Under the guidance of Ms. Paulino, ISNS students are currently developing ideas for new games and applications for VR technology. The opportunities presented to these students are truly once in a life-time experiences. Students at ISNS have the opportunity to influence the future of this amazing technology.
Paola Paulino, Director of VR Immersive Technology Education
Ms. Paola Paulino, is from Orlando, Florida and has worked in the tech industry for many years. She graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design in 2010, majoring in Computer Animation and went on to work in the gaming and animation industries. Spending a large amount of time working with Microsoft, she has been part of multiple incubation groups and has developed 3D content and character animation in many different projects.
Ms. Paulino entered the field of education with the hopes of influencing the design thinking for the Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Educational Technology space by inspiring youth and allowing them to develop an interest in the industry. She seeks to facilitate learning and exploration around how to use immersive tech as a vehicle for empathy and global thinking as well as to contribute towards the efforts of fostering a culture of inclusiveness, collaboration, embracing diverse perspectives while enriching the VR/AR ecosystem.