Can Campus Tours in Virtual Reality Improve College Access?

edsurge | April 01, 2019

What if high school students could tour college campuses across their state without ever leaving home? What if questions about the college application process or funding concerns could be addressed in real time at any hour of the day?These are just some of the goals of a current project at the University of North Carolina's Emerging Technologies Lab, under the direction of Steven King. GEAR UP NC VR App is a partnership between the UNC System, GEAR UP NC, AdmitHub and SeeBoundless production company. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a national initiative to provide resources to students in disadvantaged communities and propel them into postsecondary education. GEAR UP schools are given resources to help their students succeed in classes, ensure that their students graduate and, of course, provide their students access to college information. GEAR UP NC VR is a mobile app that places the college tour experience in the palm of a student's hand. This is made possible by the Emerging Technologies Lab and, in particular, its Innovation Project Manager, Alexis Barnes. Her undergraduate path in UNC’s School of Media and Journalism led her to working full time in the Lab—and beyond.

Spotlight

More than ever, school and district leaders are increasing their focus on two goals related to student success: closing the academic achievement gap and making sure all K–12 students are equipped with the skills they need to be successful in college and in today’s competitive workforce. The metric for evaluating the most successful schools in the United States has shifted from an exclusive focus on graduation rates to assessing academic and global skill competencies. Students who master the new competencies and are prepared to face an uncertain future in the global information economy and society represent the new standard of success. They are what is known as “future ready.”

Spotlight

More than ever, school and district leaders are increasing their focus on two goals related to student success: closing the academic achievement gap and making sure all K–12 students are equipped with the skills they need to be successful in college and in today’s competitive workforce. The metric for evaluating the most successful schools in the United States has shifted from an exclusive focus on graduation rates to assessing academic and global skill competencies. Students who master the new competencies and are prepared to face an uncertain future in the global information economy and society represent the new standard of success. They are what is known as “future ready.”

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