Charter School Management Firm, OptimaEd, breaks ground in education
OptimaEd introduced its first VR public charter school, Optima Classical Academy, which opened its doors Fall 2022 in Florida. As a VR-first school, student scholars spend four hours per day in interactive, virtual reality-based lessons. Optima Classical Academy enrolled students in 3rd to 8th grade in its inaugural 2022-2023 school year with more students and grades to be added in the future.
The Optima Classical Academy Scholar experience.
In preparation for class, an Optima Classical Academy scholar enters their virtual classroom by putting on a VR headset and meeting their classmates and teacher, in real-time, in the metaverse.
The immersive experience kicks off as scholars are suddenly surrounded by rain fall all around them. As they look around the virtual space, they see clouds in the sky and rainwater trickle down a hill before it sinks into the Earth. The teacher then starts to explain the water cycle.
The scholars are invited to explore and experience how water moves through the cycle. They break into groups and start interacting with clouds, the rain and the groundwater. The scholars discover that they can build and manipulate their environments to create evaporation, precipitation and other stages of the water cycle.
An Optima Classical Academy scholar learns through experience, interaction and self-discovery. Students have been found to be more engaged and retain more information when the environment immerses them in the concepts they are learning.
OptimaEd is pioneering the future of XR education. In just one week, scholars spent 1,513 hours and 49 minutes in VR. Most organizations use VR as a supplement to their main offering, but OptimaEd is leading the industry by making VR core to their pedagogy.
ENGAGE powers the OptimaEd experience
Behind Optima Classical Academy is ENGAGE, a virtual communications platform that simulates the way we interact in the physical world, but without physical limitations. The ENGAGE software powers OptimaEd’s virtual classrooms and VR-based learning experiences. ENGAGE empowers organizations to utilize virtual spaces and locations for metaverse learning, content creation, and content libraries for developers, educators, and students to use everyday.
As the education industry continues to adopt immersive technology, ENGAGE emerged as an industry leader building and defining the VR classroom experience. Today, ENGAGE works across the XR industry serving enterprise training, events, creative projects, experiential advertising and educational engagements. Built on the Unity Engine, ENGAGE empowers developers with content creation tools and asset libraries.
ENGAGE makes it easy for Optima Classical Academy educators to access content. Via a cloud file manager, teachers can drag and drop content into their learning libraries. ENGAGE plays a pivotal role in OptimaEd’s success by making it second nature to instruct and collaborate in VR. Of the 1,513 hours and 49 minutes that OptimaEd scholars spent in VR, 1,281 hours and 49 minutes of that was made in ENGAGE’s platform.
ManageXR unifies stakeholders and enables scale
ManageXR enables OptimaEd to control every aspect of the VR devices, including distributing the ENGAGE software, device settings, simplified VR home screens and more.
Student scholars, who are often first time users of VR, need simple and intuitive home screen menus and navigation to ensure uninterrupted and seamless learning experiences. ManageXR empowers educators and creators to customize their home screens to cater to the needs of their audience. With ManageXR’s Remote Screen View, tech support can see what’s happening inside the headset in real-time to guide users and troubleshoot issues.
OptimaEd can ensure a safe and secure experience for students by leveraging ManageXR’s configurations and security settings. These features safeguard students by only allowing them to access intended content.
“Selecting ManageXR as OptimaEd’s headset management platform partner ensures that we will be able to provide a safe and secure VR environment for our scholars,” said Adam Mangana, executive director of OptimaEd. “ManageXR gives us the ability to manage, monitor and secure our headsets so that our scholars’ experience in VR is only what the academy determines is necessary for its classical curriculum and lets us keep them in a reliable learning environment.”
ENGAGE partners with ManageXR to eliminate the friction that comes from managing a large number of devices. Using ManageXR significantly reduces time spent manually updating applications, and brings more visibility to the ENGAGE content and virtual space that powers the OptimaEd school experience.
Beyond content management, ManageXR captures metrics like time spent in VR, unique content usage data, and device health metrics to provide deeper insights into the value VR is providing. ENGAGE is able to see that OptimaEd is finding immense value in its content reflected by the time spent in VR analytics the ManageXR platform provided. OptimaEd uses ManageXR analytics to shape future curriculum based on current usage information.
ManageXR, ENGAGE, and OptimaEd are trailblazing what it means to build an XR ecosystem where content creators, organizations, and headsets manufacturers can come together to find integrated solutions for their industry and use cases.