Virtual reality to enhance learning

Tohfa Amirah Ahmed | Published: April 17, 2019 21:54:21 | Updated: April 19, 2019 18:28:23


A school student using the VR tool to see educational content

Imagine how it would feel about travelling around the world and learning about those places by remaining at the same place. Sounds quite exciting, right? As years are passing by, the invention of latest technologies seems to make our lives much more comfortable and more thrilling. Nerdiz.com is a virtual reality (VR) education platform, which has taken this concept to a new level. Using VR technology could make education a lot more fascinating for children.

Nerdiz.com envisions to facilitate all schools and students with VR contents around Bangladesh. It is working to establish a VR lab in schools. It is a virtual reality education platform in Bangladesh, which explores numerous applications of virtual reality in education field.

Pradeepta Kumar Saha, CEO  and founder of Nerdiz, has faced many difficulties to bring Nerdiz to the platform it is standing today. To know more about its journey and plans in Bangladesh, Tohfa Amirah Ahmed interviewed Pradeepta Kumar Saha. The excerpts of the interview are given below.

Question (Q): Introducing VR education in Bangladesh is a very disruptive and innovative idea. How did you come up with it?

Answer (A): Virtual reality (VR) is a new way to tackle a globally widespread problem we had been facing until now. When I was a child, I was a visual learner and could learn better, when I saw the subject in reality. I knew there were others like me. Once we were taken to Lalbagh Fort for a field trip which was followed by an exam. Surprisingly, for the first time, I had scored good marks at a history exam, which gave me a direction to work towards it. While looking for a solution, I stumbled upon virtual reality technology, which is an effective solution as students would now not only read but would be able to experience their educational content.

Q: Now tell us about your journey. What kind of challenges did you face?

A: I started developing the idea and plans in 2016. During that time, VR was not that popular and was looked upon as something only possible in science-fiction films or at best in developed nations. When I shared this concept, people showed skepticism. However, I firmly held the vision. With no coding or VR knowledge, I commenced my journey and learned anything I could. It was a one-person show until I developed a prototype. From there onwards, people started joining, and that is how we expanded.

Q: How did you receive traction from your target audience? Please tell us in details.

A: It was a tough task finding whom to target. In terms of VR headsets, the purchase decision for children is totally in the hands of their parents. We are mainly pushing our platform to the schools so that we can get access to those students. Through our initial social media videos, we received a lot of attention and several schools also approached us. We have been very active in social media. We have also carried out our sessions in schools and achieved good word of mouth, which helped us a lot.

Q: What are your current major activities?

A: Currently, we have an open platform, Nerdiz.com, which is  accessible to all. However, we are mostly focusing on schools and incorporating VR labs where students can be taught and instantaneously shown those things. We are working with several NGOs and social organisations such as --It's Humanity Foundation (IHF), Youth Voice, Teach for Bangladesh and conducting sessions in schools.

Q: What are your plans? What do you wish to achieve from this?

A: In future, we want to create VR labs in schools. We believe that the underprivileged children should also have the right to visit the places; thus, we would like to serve those schools with the help of NGOs. We want to extend our hands to the parts of rural Bangladesh and enable them with learning experiences.

The interviewer has finished her A-level from Scholastica School and is looking to enroll at an undergraduate programme soon. She can be reached at
tohfa.amirah@gmail.com

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