WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) selected Shaking Earth Digital (SED), a virtual reality, augmented reality, and mobile app company, as a Prometheus Award finalist. Dubbed, “the most prestigious recognition for Iowa’s technology industry,” SED’s nomination for Creative Technology Solution of the Year recognizes them for their, “ingenuity and use of technology in a creative way for enterprise solutions.”
SED received its nomination for its two VR-centric educational products, IDR View and IDR Create. IDR View offers a grade one through six VR math curriculum that reinforces Common Core math standards. IDR Create provides grades five through 12 VR programming software where students enter a VR game engine, create content, and launch their creations. IDR Create curriculum covers half of the Computer Science Teachers of America standards.
SED Co-Founder, Jens Zalzala explained that SED created these products because, “we started seeing incredibly innovative and intuitive new ways to interact with computing through Virtual Reality.” Through his outreach work with schools, Zalzala saw a great opportunity, “we wanted to give students not just immersive visuals, but a whole new way to become creators themselves.”
SED began developing IDR Create with middle school students at West Liberty Middle School. In collaboration with the West Liberty Community School District, SED won a $25,000 STEM Best grant from the State of Iowa.
Zalzala and his team continued to work with students and sought commercialization, later winning a $11,000 award from the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, taking home the first place prize in the state.
Not long after, Troy Miller, a nine-industry serial entrepreneur with past experience in technology, business, and a two-time director in education joined the SED team to help move IDR Create forward. “About seven months ago, Troy started pushing IDR Create forward, and in the process, created a second product called IDR View,” said Zalzala.
SED continues piloting both technologies in local elementary, middle, and high schools, noting much promise. SED has also begun discussions with schools and Area Education Agencies about licensing both products for the 2020-21 school year.