There is an educational inequality between high school students living in rural area and urban areas in Japan. This is on the large part due to the fact that many high-ranking universities in Japan are located in Tokyo and its surrounding areas. Consequently, many high school students who are eager to receive a good education, tend to choose a university in Tokyo.
But it becomes a problem for students living in rural areas. It is often very hard for these students to find their ideal university, because they have to travel to Tokyo in order to gather information on these urban universities.
It takes a lot of time and money for these students to travel to Tokyo and attend campus open days and orientations held at universities.
Therefore, they end up choosing universities based on the universities’ status or how high their ranks are, without doing much research. Ultimately, this doesn’t necessarily result in a good match, and students easily drop out or lose their motivation to continue their study. In the long run, this greatly affects their careers not to mention their future.
A startup called 10up, which specializes in developing technology devices that provide education through VR and MR, has come up with a solution. In early October, they held the world’s first VR consultation on universities connecting high school students in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture and university students at IQ Lab in Hongo 3-chome, Tokyo. Four university students of Japan’s high-ranking universities (University of Tokyo, Hitotsubashi University, Keio University and Waseda University) answered real time to high school students of Tenwa Shingaku Seminar, a cram school that prepares for university entrance exams based in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Both university and high school students communicated through “VR school”, a VR communication platform developed by 10up, through avatars representing themselves. The fact that they can talk through avatars eliminates shyness and allows students to talk openly. The VR device also allows high school students to watch 3D visuals of 360 degrees featuring university campus life. By watching, or more like “experiencing” university life, and listening to the real stories of university students who study there, high school students can get an idea of what the university is like, which will enable them to make the right choice.
In the future, 10up hopes to spread its “VR school” to more cram schools in rural areas, so they can support high school students and their efforts towards their goals.
[Website] VR School
(This article was originally published on Zenbird Media.)