Hi Folks, I’m Chad Wilson and I’d like to introduce you to immersionED, a startup that transform video games with historical settings into immersive learning experiences!
The impetus for immersionED came from my own educational experiences. Growing up I was a total history nerd. I was that 5 year old who enjoyed reading coffee table books about the medieval era. This passion was further strengthened by my cutting-edge elementary school that taught history through games like Oregon Trail and Civilization.
Then in college I majored in history and classics and was fortunate enough to travel to Greece as part of a study abroad program where the classes emphasized learning transferable skills over rote memorization via active learning. So we’d do things like walk into a museum and my professor would say: “Chad, you’ve got 5 minutes to learn the content in the room and present to everyone.”
Essentially, I was blessed with this immersive liberal arts history education that effectively taught 21st century skills and I became really driven to bring this type of experience to the broader public.
So I became a high school world history teacher at a charter school in NYC that primarily serves underprivileged students. While there I quickly realized that most students don’t enjoy textbooks the way I do and just don’t connect with the learning methods that I grew up with.
Then something clicked for me when I heard one of my students say they knew the content already from playing Assassin’s Creed. From there, I began to innovate by leveraging teenage culture in my lessons. This became especially critical during the pandemic while teaching remotely, so I started using Twitch, a streaming platform where people watch someone else playing video games, to create homework modules and in-class learning sessions set in the various historical worlds of the Assassin’s Creed series on an ongoing basis for the ~400 students in my grade.
As I concluded my three years as a teacher and prepared to head to business school, an idea based on these experiences began to percolate. What if we could build upon the existing gaming infrastructure used to create vivid and accurate historical settings in order to streamline production of fully interactive, historical learning games? These could provide sky high engagement for students to learn the content and also train students the transferable skills needed to succeed in the modern world through active learning quests. Thus, immersionED was born!
Now we’re partnering with video game companies and schools to develop our prototype and launch our pilot in the next year. If you’re a fan, please support us as we look to advance history learning from the Dark Ages into the Modern Era!