Dubai: Dubai-based New Media Academy on Sunday announced the launch of the Middle East’s first virtual campus that leverages immersive technology. The campus is a custom New Media Academy-branded virtual Space Station in orbit around Mars. Users will be given the experience to transport down to the surface of Mars to explore.
The inauguration of the virtual campus drew the participation of several Academy members and alumni, including leaders from public and private sector institutions and independent content makers. Immersive and virtual reality technology specialist and Forbes columnist Charlie Fink delivered a presentation on the role of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in business and accelerating global transition towards digital learning in virtual and immersive environments.
Rashid Al Awadhi, CEO of the New Media Academy, said: “VR and immersive technologies are shaping the learning experience of tomorrow. It is not a moment; it is a permanent movement. With the extensive set of tools that comes with immersive learning, accessibility becomes a possibility and is the next best thing to real life. Students become active participants in an elevated educational process with exceptional multi-sensory 3D experiences where they can interact with objects and each other. VR is not simply a supplement for other learning solutions – it is the future. Our students have access to the highest quality education, supported by the world’s best educators.”
He added: “At the New Media Academy, launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in June 2020 to foster a new generation of Arab content creation professionals with limitless ambition, we seek to set high standards for creative and digital learning in the region.”
The launch event included a conversation between the participants and Fink.
Fink answered questions about the future of virtual and interactive learning environments, and their role in empowering the leaders of institutions to contribute to building future smart societies.
Fink said: “Virtual and immersive reality applications have proven highly efficient in keeping pace with the rapid changes that our world has witnessed during the past year in terms of learning, work and communication systems. Today, immersive and integrated virtual reality experiences can enhance the flexibility of business, education, training and healthcare sectors, and ensure that we communicate under any circumstances, benefiting from digital tools and solutions.”
He added: “The launch of the first virtual campus of its kind in the region by the New Media Academy makes it a role model in developing innovative mechanisms that shape the future of learning and give learners new and wider spaces to test and experiment with concepts and ideas in a virtual environment with limitless creativity.”
The Academy has developed its new virtual campus built upon ENGAGE, an awarding winning platform from development studio Immersive VR Education (IVRE).
Immersive virtual campus
David Whelan, CEO and founder of Immersive VR Education (IVRE), which developed ENGAGE, said: “I am delighted to welcome the New Media Academy to the ENGAGE platform as the first to launch a digital VR campus in the Middle East. This partnership will see the Academy offer access to a fully immersive virtual campus, where users can interact on a wide range of devices and VR headsets. This is only the start of what we hope to be a fruitful and productive venture into the Middle East.”
The new virtual campus and the inaugural event are powered by VIVE, a leader in VR.
Daniel Khayat, Head of Product and VIVEPORT Middle East and Africa, said: “We are pleased to see the New Media Academy develop the first virtual campus of its kind in the Middle East. This type of innovation is very close to our vision with VIVE being a pioneer in innovation, supporting various sectors and businesses to achieve greater success by providing world-class experiences in immersive reality technology. The training and education sector can lead the transformation of business sectors towards virtual reality. We will witness qualitative growth and more satisfaction with the application of virtual reality as the new trend.”
The New Media Academy is building strategic partnerships with global solution providers to offer flexible interactive educational and training materials that adhere to world-class standards and global best practices for its program members that include public sector leaders, private sector employees, content creators, influencers and those interested in developing advanced digital skills.
It also cooperates with world-renowned experts and trainers to deliver its educational programs that cover various digital skills and grant the Academy’s members a competitive head starts in communication, digital strategy design and content creation.