I just had an amazing experience that I never expected. I got back from an event called DENSI (Discovery Education Network Summer Institute). First of all, I've been in the event business for over 30 years and this was an incredibly well run event that lasts for over a week. That was impressive in itself, but when you go to a dinner one night with 150 teachers, that's right, I said teachers and they were literally hooting, hollering and dancing around celebrating Education. No, I did not stutter, you read that correctly. Teachers going crazy about education. By the way, the teachers have to apply to go to this event and they receive hundreds of applications.
You might be saying to yourself right now, wait, Richard Oleff, who wouldn't be my first pick at an event relating to Education was actually invited to this event. I know, I agree, it's surreal, it doesn't make sense, but it actually does. I have a passion for education and I happened to meet the most incredible woman named Jannita Demian less than 2 months ago. She is the Senior Director, Learning Communities for Discovery Education. I, like most of you, thought that Discovery Education was the company that had the app called Discovery VR, which has all this great VR content, but I learned that was not the case. Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the U.K., and more than 50 countries. How about that, is your mind blown, because mine was.
I was excited because I had great ideas for the Discovery VR app using our awesome UC Elite viewers to show their content in VR to people all over the world, BUT when I found out what Discovery Education did, that is when I got REALLY excited. As I mentioned before, I have a real passion for education and it certainly wasn't there when I was a kid. It was something I developed as a parent seeing teachers shaping my daughters' minds and watching them become smarter than me by 2nd grade. There was one teacher, in particular, that made an impact on not only both of my daughters, but our entire family. Her name is Mrs. Sabin and both of my daughters were fortunate to have her as their 1st grade teacher. The growth we saw in both the girls blew my mind and it was at that moment that I became completely amazed at what teachers can do. We were so fond of Mrs. Sabin that all 4 of us went to her retirement party at the Elementary school.
Now that I told you how I got my passion for Education, let me circle back to Jannita and Discovery Education. In a one-hour meeting, she listened to my dreams and goals for VR in Education and basically took control of this incredible roller coaster ride that just culminated at DENSI in Wilmington, NC this week. I told her how I wanted our custom viewers to be available to every Elementary, Middle and High School in the World. We talked about all this great educational content that is already out there FOR FREE that teachers are currently using in their classroom. I told her my ideas for using our viewers for fundraising, buy one get one and getting sponsorship from local businesses. This was in the first 15 minutes of our conversation and then she said, "I got this" (it probably wasn't that, but it's basically what she meant). By the end of our conversation, Jannita invited us to DENSI to interact with 50 principals and 150 teachers from all over the World. She also told me that she would set-up an Advisory Council of teachers that would select appropriate VR content for grade levels in Science and Social Studies based on current educational standards. So at this point, I was like, OMG and we were on on our way. Advisory council, CHECK. DENSI invitation, CHECK. Unofficial Cardboard school concepts on website, CHECK.
So, let's get back to 150 teachers hooting and hollering in Wilmington, NC this week. DENSI is basically a boot camp for teachers and principals. It gives these educators the latest and greatest that education has to offer so they can teach it to our kids and it's in its 13th year. So, when they talk about "The Children are our Future", Discovery Education is one of the many companies that is working toward that statement with an event like this. I met incredible people that KNEW what VR was and had actually USED IT IN THE CLASSROOM with their kids using Google Expeditions. If any teachers don't know what Expeditions is, please download the app immediately. It allows you to control VR (and AR) experiences for your kids. For instance, take them on a virtual field trip, let them explore space and conduct experiments and this content is FREE.
So, you are probably asking yourself, how does Unofficial Cardboard fit into this amazing VR for Education world with Discovery Education and many other companies making a difference. As I've been saying since I started this blog months ago, the best and most affordable way to see VR is using cardboard viewers and we created a plan for all schools to participate in this growing trend of teaching with VR and. We break it out very easily on our website, which you can see here. Our programs have opportunities for schools to offset the cost of the viewers 100% and use free content in Expeditions.
Thank you to Mrs. Sabin for showing me how important teachers are and thank you to Jannita for putting my VR in Education goals and wishes in motion.
Any teachers or schools that are interested in our VR for Education program, click here to visit our website or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!
BELOW ARE THE CUSTOM VIEWERS THAT WE MADE FOR DENSI
I know I'm supposed to be talking about VR or even it's cousin AR, but I decided to take a little break writing about the industry. There was nothing new for me to write about and even though I've been fully engaged every day in the industry, I wanted to look into some other things happening.
I know that I'm probably late to the Podcast party, but I am at the party and thoroughly enjoying it. I was introduced to the Podcast from a friend of mine that is the Executive Director of the Board of a charity that I work with called Teen Cancer America. This charity is amazing and it was co-founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of the Who. If you're interested in reading more about the charity, go to www.teencanceramerica.org
My friend is Rebecca Rothstein and the she was telling me about her own Podcast called "Say it Forward", which you can subscribe to here. As I said, I didn't know anything about Podcasts and I was going on a business trip so I decided to download Rebecca's first 2 episodes and her guests were Howie Mandel and Roger Daltrey. I really enjoyed this Podcast. No commercials. Each episode was a 60 minute interview of a great guest.
I happen to like long celebrity interviews and in this format, the interviewer is able to get way more information from their guest than a 5 minute talk show interview. I started to research these Podcasts and there is such a huge variety that anyone can find something that they will enjoy listening to. I like comedy and there is an endless supply of comedians with Podcasts and many of them are great. They have business, food, music, conspiracy theories, politics and anything else you could imagine.
In fact, you can check out the top 100 ranked Podcasts from podbay.fm right here. What I'm trying to say is if you like talk radio, you will love Podcasts and you can find anything that you have an interest in. If you can't find anything that peaks your interest, just start your own Podcast!
Feel free to tell me your favorite Podcasts!
It's been awhile since my last blog because I decided to sit back and watch what happens in the industry. During this time, I've been to multiple events including the 4A's Accelerate event in Miami and Cannacon in Detroit. I actually learned a lot at the event in Miami, whose attendees were from the agency world and included a full agenda of speakers and an awards ceremony. We had a booth at this event so we can talk to the attendees of the event and educate them on the advancements in AR and VR (together known as MR) and how it can benefit clients.
Chief Marketing Officer at Unofficial Cardboard