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Graphic Design Professor’s Immersive Technology Proposal Wins Open Innovation Challenge

Nearly every student can relate to the frantic rush of completing a forgotten assignment just hours before a deadline. But what about pitching a multimedia, immersive tech program to increase empathy among users through shared experience?

This isn’t something covered in IST 110, but graphic design professor Rodney Allen Trice rose to the challenge when he discovered Teaching and Learning with Technology’s Open Innovation Challenge just hours before the deadline. Trice submitted a proposal for his program “Walk a Mile…” that beat out more than forty other applicants to win the challenge.

Trice, a 1987 Penn State alumnus who returned to Happy Valley last fall to teach graphic design, will be paired with a team to help implement his idea and bring Walk a Mile to fruition. He aims to create immersive technology to expose users to current issues and various conditions of living. He’ll utilize 360° photo and video to immerse users in the context of the issue.

For example, to show what it’s like to live in an impoverished area or be held in a detention center, the 360° photo/video will show the conditions and experiences people in these situations encounter. The goal of Walk A Mile is to make people empathic and understanding by putting them into the shoes of others through an immersive experience.

Trice has a passion for immersive technology like augmented reality, and the Open Innovation Challenge has given him the first step to test the bounds of immersive technology. He said he hopes augmented reality will eventually be incorporated into daily life — not only at Penn State, but around the world.

The Open Innovation Challenge is one of the ways Teaching and Learning with Technology encourages professors to stretch their minds and consider the possibilities of technology and its application in an educational setting.

Trice said that he believes Augmented reality will eventually be “the most impactful technology [in the world of graphic design] since the printing press.”

He’s very aware of the present ever-changing society, but encourages students to not let the unknowns of the future deter them. Trice said he is excited to “train students for jobs that don’t even exist yet.”

“Be brave,” Trice said. “Don’t allow your insecurities or fears of new challenges to throw you off your game.”

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About the Author

Corrin Smucker

Corrin is double majoring in Spanish and Public Relations here at Penn State and is minoring in International Business. She is always excited to share with readers all Penn State has to offer, and what makes it the greatest school on the East Coast (or even the nation).

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