This is the XR Project

May we help you get your students thinking about how to spread the Gospel by engaging in an exciting hands-on educational adventure?

This is the primary purpose of the XR Project and Festival: students at Christian high schools are encouraged especially to inquire into how XR can be used to spread the Gospel. Along with participating public high schools they will also explore secular applications in education and outreach.

While all are welcome – students, teachers, others – and will profit from attending the XR Festival on April 1-2, 2022, high schools are being invited to enlist interested students to engage in this school-year-long “co-curricular” activity, the XR Project, in which they explore, at their own pace and following their own interests, how XR technology (especially Virtual and Augmented Reality), can be useful in their own chosen disciplines.

Here is how to participate fully in both the “XR Project and Festival”:

Step One: Enlist a team of your most creative students interested in the Bible, and Writing or Storytelling or Teaching or Technology or Science or Music or History or the Arts and Gospel outreach

Step Two: Register your school’s team for the XR Project and Festival at Bethany Lutheran College and receive a free Oculus Quest 2 VR headset*

Step Three: Together explore the exciting worlds of Extended Reality (XR) for education at your own pace† during the 2021-22 school year. At Christian schools especially imagine (and even design) ways XR can be used to SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

Step Four: Bring your team‡ to Bethany Lutheran College on April 1-2, 2022, for the XR Festival to meet teams from other schools, report any discoveries you have come up with, and learn more about XR for education and outreach.

* $300-400 value. We have funding to supply a Quest 2 for the first five WELS/ELS high schools that notify Notification means you will make a “good faith effort” to engage in the XR Project and Festival.
† We can supply you with lots of guidance. For starter ideas, read below.
‡ We can help Lutheran high schools with travel and lodging costs. See the note on the Registration page.

What kinds of exploration might be pursued in each academic discipline? Here are some hints and starting points. What is the student’s main interest?

Religion: Can a VR simulation take us on a walk through first century Jerusalem? Enable us to explore the Tabernacle, or Solomon’s Temple? Place us at a virtual Calvary? Should it? How will the Gospel show up in these simulations?

English: Storytelling is basic to almost all media production. How will writing for a VR story differ from writing a short story for print, or from crafting a traditional screenplay? Can a VR experience enhance poetry? And what are effective ways of incorporating the Gospel into stories?

History: If VR simulations can make us “present” at historical sites and events (the signing of the Declaration of Independence – a dialogue in Plato’s Academy – where would you like to be virtually?), what kind of research is needed to make the experiences authentic? And what do these historical situations tell us about God’s providence and love?

Science: Countless science applications of AR and VR continue to appear, especially enabling virtual experiments that would in reality be dangerous or too expensive. Check them out. What is their value? What more would you like to see? And how do these realistic virtual observations help us proclaim God’s glory?

Mathematics: What mathematical structures would you like to “wander through” in VR? How can they be generated? And if Galileo was right when he said, “Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe,” how will these amazing simulations be made to glorify God?

Languages: In VR you can talk with language partners in their language in any place in the world. They can take you walking through their neighborhood where you learn about how they live, talking with them as you practice their language, as if you were really there (almost). Where would you like to go to practice new language skills? And what openings might appear for talking about Jesus?

Music: Wouldn’t it be fun to walk around in the middle of an orchestra while it is performing? And don’t forget: nearly every media production requires music. What is special about applying music in a VR experience? And as you plan your virtual concert, what kinds of music can bring a Christian message to the generation that is flooding into VR experiences?

Graphic arts: What virtual worlds would you like to create and share with others? Possibilities in VR are unlimited. But how will you craft them to enhance or carry Gospel messages?

Business: Media production, including in XR, costs money and might even make money. What are the financial structures that support XR? And in particular, what Christian ministries can use your help in funding their XR Gospel-bearing work?

Physical education/athletics: Some of the greatest stories come from the experience of athletes; VR can help (us) non-athletes understand in new ways. And athletic success is a matter not only of body but of spirit. Where does the Gospel fit in an athlete’s life, and how can that be told in VR?

Education: Going to be a teacher? Good for you! Now you are interested in all of the above and more.

These are ideas that come to my mind – and I don’t know your discipline as you do. What comes to your mind? And more important, what will come to your students’ minds? At the Christ in Media Institute, we know from experience that our young tech-savvy Christian students, out of love for their Savior, are our best sources of ideas for how to spread His saving message in innovative ways.

Use the XR Project and Festival to open doors for them to demonstrate that truth once again! They will surprise and delight you. And us, as they come to the XR Festival on April 1-2, 2022, to show us their exciting discoveries and creations.

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