Immersive virtual classrooms and campuses will be powered by Virbela to inspire students of all ages
Virbela, a virtual world platform for work, education, and events, today announced a partnership with The Douglas Stewart Company, a leading distributor for academic products and services. Serving the education market for over 70 years, Douglas Stewart and its Software and Services group will bring Virbela’s virtual campus and immersive learning environments to a network of resellers that reach nearly 5,000 colleges and universities and 132,000 K-12 schools nationwide.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 65% of households with students are taking part in distance learning due to the pandemic, and as a result, educators are looking for online solutions to improve collaboration and connectivity for students and instructors. Virbela and Douglas Stewart aim to solve the challenges of remote education by offering realistic classrooms and interactive lessons that drive higher course participation while helping students socialize and build relationships with peers and faculty.
“With the large shift to remote learning this past year, educators are concerned about student engagement. When compared to video conferencing or other online collaboration tools, a virtual classroom provides the presence and emotional connection of being together in person, which has shown to improve retention and overall satisfaction,” said Alex Howland, president and co-founder of Virbela. “Virbela is proud to partner with The Douglas Stewart Company to help students get the most out of their education, regardless of location.”
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Virbela enables schools and universities to build their own virtual campus and create different learning environments to engage students, empower faculty, and bring the spark back to learning. This includes classrooms and lecture halls, private offices for professors to meet with students one-on-one, and public spaces for events and student interaction, including orientation, concerts, and more.
“Students, instructors, and parents alike have struggled with distance learning this year,” said Chuck Hulan, CEO for Douglas Stewart Software and Services. “A growing number of colleges and universities have shown that a virtual environment can lead to enhanced social presence and increased engagement among student groups. We’re excited to partner with Virbela to show educators that this solution humanizes virtual interactions and makes learning more fun.”
Educational institutions including Arizona State University, Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford LEAD), and University of California San Diego have all turned to Virbela to create immersive learning programs. Virbela’s virtual campus can accommodate thousands of students simultaneously, while intentionally designed features such as personalized avatars, spatialized voice, familiar presentation tools, and 3D environments lead to a sense of realism and connectivity that address many challenges of remote education today.
The Douglas Stewart Software and Services group has implemented its own virtual campus powered by Virbela, named DStewart Edu. “We want to showcase how immersive learning environments can be used to empower a student’s remote learning abilities, improve classroom engagement, and support educators with professional development,” said Sarah Segrest, Director of Strategy and Innovation for Douglas Stewart Software and Services. “Virbela is truly transformational for education.”
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