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 read textbooks on Alexander the Great in his free time. 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, however, I was cognizant that this type of education wasn’t the norm with history, usually being taught in a very rote way. As a result I became really driven to bring this type of experience to the broader public and developed a seven year career path to do something about it.
I began that journey by becoming an investment banker at Morgan Stanley to build up a broad business background while telling my manager from day one my plan to move to teaching afterwards. After my two years as an analyst, I taught 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 just gush over pictures of ruins in textbooks the way I do and I needed to innovate to make things connect for them.
Then something clicked for me when I heard one of my students during the pandemic say they knew the content already from playing Assassin’s Creed. Since I was already teaching remotely, I started using Twitch, a streaming platform where people watch others 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.
The students absolutely devoured the content, even looking to spend extra time in class to learn more. While this interim solution solved the engagement issue, I quickly realized that the students themselves would need to play the games in order to leverage history in a way that maximized transferable skill learning.
Thus the idea for immersionED was born! Now we build upon existing gaming infrastructure in order to streamline the production of vivid and accurate historical learning games, providing 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.
If you’re a fan, please support us as we look to advance history learning from the Dark Ages into the Modern Era!