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 Educational Environments Worldwide

Earlier this month, HumanITas Solutions had the unique opportunity of attending the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in New York. Established by the Qatar Foundation, WISE is an international multi-sectoral platform for creative thinking, debate, and purposeful action centered around education. Abdo Shabah, CEO of HumanITas, had the pleasure of meeting the Chairperson of WISE, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, to discuss how some of our innovations for emergency response situations and disaster struck areas could also be groundbreaking for education worldwide.

WISE was established in 2009 as an initiative to shed light on the importance of innovating for education and empower the global community to collaborate. In recent times, heavy emphasis has been put on innovation for technology and healthcare, but in both the classroom and in policy-making, education has been relatively stagnant. WISE and HumanITas both realize this is a serious issue since many of the world’s key problems, such as poverty and inequality, could indirectly be addressed through improving education. The WISE Summits gather teachers, decision makers, and influential experts in both the public and private sector, to collaborate in seeking innovative solutions to solve challenges facing education. 

The theme of the New York Summit this year was “Learning Revolutions: Creating Educational Environments for Empowerment and Inclusion”. New technology provides opportunities to create learning environments that extend the possibilities of traditional educational solutions. However, an issue that still persists today is the lack of access to education for the most vulnerable. Most forms of learning either require internet access or are too expensive. What about the people who have none? What can we do to democratize education worldwide? Google has already taken a solid step in creating the Google Cardboard, a low-cost virtual reality platform intended to encourage the development of VR applications. The main challenge of using the Google Cardboard for educational purposes is that it’s an individual VR set. To most effectively reap the benefits of education, it is important to collaborate. That is why HumanITas has been working its latest solution. 

At the WISE Summit this past weekend, we discussed our new virtual reality technology. We’ve been developing a portable VR system that requires no internet access and is easily used through an app on a phone. And best of all, this will be available for just $1. That’s right, using the notion of “bring your own device”, all you need is $1 and any cell phone you can download an app on. Though intended for emergency response situations and disaster struck areas, this cutting edge technology offers great benefits for educating those in the most vulnerable places in the world. Catering to the various learning styles, virtual reality posits the opportunity to visualize difficult to understand concepts, have virtual labs, and engage students. All at such a low-cost, students can have the opportunity to engage with their instructors, peers, learning material, and environment.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this project is the HumanITas e-Learning community that we’re planning to launch. Instructors will have the opportunity to collaborate in creating learning and training material. Once approved, it will be uploaded to the e-Learning community database which will be available with no internet access. We hope that this will create a local collaborative ecosystem geared towards the creation of local genuine content. 

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