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Graphic design academic awarded research grant from video game giant
Epic Games, maker of the hugely popular video game Fortnite, has awarded a grant to a York St John academic to develop augmented reality learning as part of science education in primary schools.
Warren Fearn, Programme Leader for Postgraduate Design and Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design, will use the $25,000 Epic MegaGrant funding in research for his PhD entitled ‘How can augmented reality be used to teach primary science learning and bridge the gap between classroom and remote delivery?’. Warren is already collaborating alongside Ebor Academy Trust’s primary schools in York, using augmented reality to introduce innovative teaching and learning platforms to engage young people in science.
The grant will also contribute to the development of a new social enterprise, ‘3D R WE’, which will work with schools and communities to teach the benefits of augmented and virtual reality, whilst encouraging pupils to learn digital creative skills earlier on in their education. Using Epic’s 3D software development tool ‘Unreal Engine’, Warren will be able to develop new immersive 3D learning experiences.
Commenting on the funding award, Warren said: “Receiving an EPIC Mega Grant is a real opportunity to understand the needs of educators and participants when using augmented reality as a platform for active engagement. I’m delighted to have the support from a leading global company who are at the forefront of 3D technology and innovation. The research will feed into the curriculum here at York St John and benefit students studying areas around virtual, wearable and visual design for the future.”
Gail Brown, Chief Executive of Ebor Academy Trust, which operates 24 schools across York, Selby, East Riding and The Humber and on the Yorkshire Coast, said: “The funding will ultimately help enrich learning opportunities for children in our schools. It’s exciting for our pupils to be among the first to be involved in some amazing, next generation technology for education.”
Linda Sellheim, Education Program Manager at Epic Games, added: “Our mission with Epic MegaGrants is to fuel creativity, to unlock potential, and to remove barriers, enabling amazing creators like Warren to make amazing things. We are delighted to learn that he will be transferring his technical creativity to the virtual classroom at such a unique time as this.”
Epic Games created their MegaGrants programme in 2019, with a $100 million commitment to support game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, academics and developers worldwide who are working with Unreal Engine or improving open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community. Warren is one of 600 global recipients who have been recognised for their innovative creativity and vision since the launch of the programme just over a year ago.