Virtual Reality Offers Students a Unique Educational Experience

As virtual reality technology advances, so does its potential application. In education, having a virtual reality resource means there are practically limitless methods for instruction. Better Than Unicorns, a firm which specializes in such immersive experiences, is offering students at Odyssey School a chance to explore art and design beyond any physical limitations.

On May 1, students participated in an incredible collaboration with the firm which combined technology and imagination.

Better Than Unicorns, a virtual reality studio, will be providing students with much more than unicorns. One virtual reality program will allow students to paint with fire, snow, smoke, and other incredible materials. Another program, developed for architectural design, will allow students to build and construct. The demonstration aims to translate virtual experiences into real creativity and solutions by the Odyssey students.

According to Founder, Brett McCall, “VR technology may soon outmaneuver the design programs that are currently available on computer today. A fully-immersive design experience finally allows the artist or designer to delve into their digital art with all senses engaged. After creating a life-sized 3D model or navigational landscape, it seems only natural that an artist may see the physical world with a renewed, more enhanced perspective. In this way, the effects of every virtual reality experience linger—long after stepping out of the immersion rig.”

At the core of this collaboration is a jointly held value for design thinking. Odyssey School applies the process in its daily curriculum from kindergarten through high school. Design thinking includes steps to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Because it is non-linear, however, these steps may be conducted and repeated in a variety of sequences until the goal is achieved. Better Than Unicorns uses design thinking to guide its evolving integration of virtual reality into the business world.

“We are thrilled to see what our students invent, applying their design skills in this super exciting new medium,” says Odyssey’s Executive Director Megan Martell. Odyssey School is a grateful recipient of the firm’s community leadership. The school is based on an integral model of education and offers multiple learning methods. The partnership with Better Than Unicorns will provide avenues of exploration and learning previously unfeasible, and it will challenge students’ imaginations.

Odyssey’s vision is to prepare students to lead the 21st century and make positive changes in the world by connecting consciousness and creativity. Thanks to the leadership of Better Than Unicorns, combining the creative with the impossible through virtual reality will expand each student’s sense of possibility.

Odyssey School is located at 90 Zillicoa Street, Asheville. Questions about the school or the demonstration by Better Than Unicorns are welcome and may be addressed to learn@odysseycommunity.org or 828.259.3653.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for seven years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.