Kai XR, launched an EdTech platform from history teacher in Northern Virginiatakes students around the world and beyond without ever leaving the classroom.
Kai Fraserfounder and CEO who recently moved to Birminghameducated students who were primarily from underserved communities in Title 1 schools. Despite having some of the best museums in the country in their backyard in Washington, DC, the school has limited resources and cannot fund educational field trips or technology investments. Fraser watched students graduate from high school and struggle in the workforce due to a lack of exposure to technology and general educational experiences.
Fraser began working at museums her students had not had the opportunity to visit, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in an effort to bring learning back into the classroom and bridge the educational gap. While working in museums, she came up with a solution: if students can’t go to museums, why not bring museums to them through VR (virtual reality)?
In recent years, VR has been introduced to museums around the world as a means of educating visitors through immersive exhibits. Fraser realized that this technology could help prepare students for a high-tech future, and in 2018, she brought a VR headset into her classroom.
“I rented a VR 360 camera. I shot my first prototype at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. I took it back to my students and saw how big of a deal it was for them. One, because they were excited to use technology that they had never seen, and two, they were seeing things that they had never seen before, even though it was in their backyard,” Fraser said.
Seeing how excited and receptive her students were to the technology, Fraser decided to create a VR learning platform suitable for a classroom environment. She sold her house, car and most of her belongings and moved to Silicon Valley to invest her life in what would become Kai XR.
Kai XR has since evolved to offer an annual subscription that includes over 100 virtual field trips where students can explore topics ranging from Obama portraits to aerospace engineering. Teachers can also use KAI XR’s drag-and-drop 3D authoring space and the Learn platform, which allows teachers to create a complete curriculum or tap into ready-made Metaverse courses.
Kai XR is designed to be available on both 5G mobile devices and smartphones so that students can use the technology at home. Engagement at home has been seen to improve digital literacy not only for students but also for parents who protect technology at home.
Tech for teachers
As a teacher herself, Fraser explained that the Kai XR was designed to make teachers’ lives easier, not remove them from the classroom.
“We don’t want to replace teachers. As a teacher, I know first hand what it feels like to have all the pressure on you. And if you’re a teacher, you spend your Sunday evening stressing about what you’re going to teach on Monday, and so we try to have these pre-prepared lessons for our teachers to give them back their Sunday evenings,” Fraser said.
To ease the transition of introducing new technology into the classroom, Kai XR offers co-teaching sessions for teacher professional development. Fraser says this hands-on support offering is key to scaling and deployment.
Most recently, Kai XR expanded to Birmingham, Alabama for a school pilot. Experimenting with the technology in the classroom has yielded great lessons for the company, allowing them to continue to build the product and its content according to the preferences of customers (students, teachers and parents).
Kai XR is committed to continuing to empower students of all backgrounds to see the world using VR in the classroom.
“We are always looking for new schools, new school districts and libraries [to partner with]. We even work with juvenile detention centers. So anyone looking for ways to really make learning engaging while giving students a head start for the future by using these technologies.”