In December 2018, the UNICEF Innovation Fund announced its largest investment round yet - thirteen new startup companies using frontier technology solutions to create fairer opportunities for children. Among these 13 is a female-founded start-up from Nigeria called Imisi 3D. According to the founder, Judith Okonkwo, Imisi 3D’s solution will provide quality education tools through Virtual Reality (VR), which aims to enrich learning experiences for children.
“Our approach is broad-based, because we are looking to both engage people widely and get them to understand that the technology exists and what’s possible, as well as the specific applications of these technologies - a major one for us is VR for education -- especially for children. We want them to be able to have more meaningful and experiential learning experiences.”
The UNICEF Innovation team, UNICEF Nigeria Country Office and Imisi 3D in a working session to enrich learning experiences for children using virtual reality technology.
UNICEF’s Nigeria Country Office was instrumental in helping Imisi 3D and UNICEF’s Innovation Team develop a better understanding of the country context and education challenges in Nigeria, where more than 10.5 million children are out of school. Together, the teams explored the possibilities innovations like VR can bring to learning outcomes for children who can access it. Four key recommendations emerged from these discussions:
The Imisi 3D project will start off in a public high school classroom in Lagos.
Working with students and teachers, and guided by the national school curriculum, virtual reality content for subjects such as Maths and Basic Science will be introduced.
Learning outcomes will be measured, using tests within the modules and school examination results.
Teachers will help create locally-tailored content and will receive training on how to take a child through the modules.
Challenges were recognized – most schools in Nigeria have limited resources, erratic power supply and congested classrooms. However, with careful planning and improvisation, the hope is to put VR in the hands of school children across the state and country soon.
Fabien Benetou, from the UNICEF Innovation team, facilitating a Web XR session with participants at a meetup in Lagos.
“Imisi means ‘inspiration’ in Yoruba - and that is what’s possible with these technologies, that you can inspire, that you can do it in multiple dimensions and all the possibilities that come with that,”