Mia Bella Chavez, a student from the “Work of Art” College and Career Readiness Program discussing the VR experience with California By Design judge Dan Harden
Takes 2nd Place in TV program California By Design’s “Best of the Best” awards
Los Angeles, CA, August 6, 2020 — A world-first educational Virtual Reality partnership between Inner-City Arts, a leading provider of quality arts education for underserved children in Los Angeles, and Curiious, an immersive communication company from Sydney, has finished 2nd in the “Best of the Best” segment for the California By Design TV series.
The first-of-its-kind VR platform, IQ, was developed by Curiious. Virtual Reality is typically designed for full individual immersion, but the IQ platform uniquely allows students to interact with each other live in the virtual environment and undertake a shared learning experience for the first time. It also allows teachers to synchronize a set of headsets, enabling them to monitor the classroom on a device such as a tablet, which acts as a virtual whiteboard; what the teacher annotates onto the tablet appears within the VR environment in real time.
Thanks to the generous support of Irwin J. and Patti Jaeger, Inner-City Arts deployed the Curiious IQ “Creator’s Toolkit” and enabled its students, using VR headsets, to design communities on Mars and immerse themselves in co-created 360-degree animations.
The partnership was highlighted as part of the California By Design TV series, culminating in the Best of the Best program which aired on Saturday, August 1 on CBS 2 and CBS 5, and can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/yT5vC2BAB1M?t=1078
“It’s [using] new educational methodologies, and it’s challenging students to think creatively and collaboratively in new ways,” said California By Design Judge Caroline Flagiello on the program.
“We’re extremely proud of this recognition, and it’s a remarkable start to our adventure with Inner-City Arts,” said Brett Heil, founder of Curiious. “It’s a tremendous achievement and validation of all of the incredible work our team has put into the IQ platform and the programs that Inner-City Arts has used so effectively.”
The partnership remains in the running for the People’s Choice award (votes can be lodged here). Voting closes August 9 US time, with the winners to be announced August 10.
Next for Curiious and Inner-City Arts, taking the VR environment beyond the four walls
The response to the platform from students, teachers, and now California By Design has emboldened the two organizations to take the platform to other communities, with Curiious able to now deploy the platform via the cloud using Microsoft Azure.
“The continued partnership between Inner-City Arts and Curiious will support our collective goal of expanding access to students by removing location barriers,” shared Collette Alleyne Williams, Inner-City Arts’ Chief Education Officer. “Students will explore creativity in a way that fosters the development of 21st Century skills and social-emotional learning, building their confidence, understanding of their emotions, self-control, and ability to improve decision-making skills. Inner-City Arts will utilize VR as a delivery tool to enhance the creative process and discovery that exists in all studios across all art forms.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Inner-City Arts campus has moved its classes online, with virtual attendance of the school’s art-based classes further vindicating the two organisations’ plans to enable remote access to the Curiious IQ Creator’s Toolkit and its social and emotional learning (SEL) capabilities, including Curiious’ SEL program WISE, for Inner-City Arts’ students and, soon, to other institutions and partners both in the US and abroad.
“With VR there is no need for everyone to be within the four walls, and our goal is to enable remote access to these shared learning experiences,” said Curiious’ Heil. “The pandemic has highlighted the need for engaging remote learning, but we’re looking at this capability in spite of the pandemic, not because of it.”
“We are evolving and changing globally in so many ways,” said Steve Sobalvarro, Media Arts Teaching Artist at Inner-City Arts who has been educating young people since 2001. “It is my belief that our approach to education must follow. Working with Curiious and their VR software presents new and innovative ways for educating my students. The ability to control and annotate on top of 360 videos and the power to customize and create content that can be viewed and shared in VR are very exciting. These engaging and entertaining experiences for my students will continue to open doors to uncharted approaches to creativity, learning, and collaboration.”
Curiious is an Immersive Learning Company which focuses on setting new benchmarks in learning and measurement. For more than 20 years it has used creativity & technology to solve problems, grow businesses and challenge communication. With offices in Sydney and Los Angeles, they create outcome-driven immersive experiences, backed by the latest technology, innovative design and strategic thinking to captivate, inspire and educate audiences. WWW.CURIIOUS.COM
ABOUT INNER-CITY ARTS
Founded in 1989, Inner-City Arts is a learning oasis in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Under the guidance of professional teaching artists, Inner-City Arts’ students are immersed in a safe and supportive environment where they may engage in a variety of visual and performing art forms in a studio setting. Services include core classes during the instructional day for grade K-8 students, after school and weekend workshops for teens, and creativity based professional development training for educators. Children who attend Inner-City Arts develop skills that are highly valued in the 21st century workforce such as collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. WWW.INNER-CITYARTS.ORG
Please direct questions and media inquiries to Cameron Wells, PR for Curiious at firstname.lastname@example.org and Christopher Maikish, Senior Manager, Communications for Inner-City Arts at email@example.com.
Those wishing to support Inner-City Arts’ efforts to help youth and families with creative arts learning can get involved at www.inner-cityarts.org/get-involved.