In April of 2015, we brought students from View Park Preparatory School in Los Angeles, California to Aleppo, Syria through Nonny de la Peña’s Project Syria virtual reality experience. Days later, we connected these same students to Syrian refugees living in Jordan through virtual exchange, where they engaged in meaningful dialogue ranging from shared hobbies and interests to challenges faced by their communities. As a result of this entry point, it bore vision to the creation of the GNG VR Lab.

Through putting on a virtual reality headset, we can be fully immersed into an alternate reality giving us an opportunity to experience the lives of the “other,” in a profound way. We can find ourselves in the center of unique experiences, from a refugee camp, to the bottom of the ocean floor or perhaps more simply, into the day to day life of a student in another country. Virtual reality makes this thought experiment an almost visceral experience, deepening our understanding of human history and culture from a completely different perspective than our own.

With great excitement, we welcome you to the GNG Virtual Reality Lab. The VR Lab will allow us to experiment with the medium to further support our vision of building a generation of empathic, aware, and action oriented global citizens. We will be designing and curating curriculum around cinematic vr experiences, provide educator resources that will support the integration of this technology into classrooms, and learn how to build best practices around vr in education. Come join us on this exciting journey as we cultivate empathy to embrace our shared humanity.