Media Grid News

"Rocket World" Space-themed Immersive Learning System Launched by Immersive Education Initiative
Core immersive STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) curricula designed to inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and researchers through next-generation of learning technology.


BOSTON, MA - September 8, 2009 - The Immersive Education Initiative today opened "Rocket World" to the global education community. The Initiative launched Rocket World on the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk, and today announced that the space-themed immersive learning system will be freely available to all levels of teachers, students, scientists, engineers and researchers worldwide.

Rocket World

Rocket World is a comprehensive immersive learning framework and core immersive STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) curricula designed to inspire and educate a new generation of scientists, engineers and researchers through the novel application of next-generation learning technology. Rocket World is specifically designed to engage students of all ages and teach core STEM concepts using a new generation of learning technology that includes virtual worlds, simulators, learning games, and mixed (augmented) reality that together immerse students in rich and collaborative space-themed learning experiences. Rocket World can be experienced alone or simultaneously in collaboration with educators, students, scientists, and researchers located anywhere in the world.

Areas of Participation

Join the Rocket World group now (membership is free; sign up here) to participate in any of the following ways:

  • Teachers can use Rocket World in or out of the classroom to teach core STEM concepts in a unique and engaging way.

  • Educators can participate in the design and development of Rocket World's core immersive STEM curricula.

  • Scientists and science teachers can give special guest lectures inside of Rocket World's collaborative environments, sharing their knowledge and experience with learners worldwide.

  • Astronauts can join Rocket World's "Astronaut Panel" to participate as distinguished speakers in space-themed virtual worlds, sharing their experiences and expertise with teachers and learners around the world.

  • Scientists and science teachers can give special guest lectures inside of Rocket World’s collaborative environments, sharing their knowledge and experience with learners worldwide.

  • Developers of virtual worlds, simulators, learning games, and mixed (augmented) reality can participate in the ongoing design, development and refinement of Rocket World

  • Researchers can study Rocket World to conduct research into the efficacy of immersive learning technologies, immersive curricula, and immersive pedagogy.

Launching Rocket World: The First Step

The Immersive Education Initiative launched Rocket World on the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk. At the launch event teachers, researchers, and a NASA scientist met in a rocket-themed collaborative virtual world with elementary school, high school, and college students. Through Rocket World they participated in a synchronous, shared learning experience despite residing in different physical locations (Boston, Colorado, Los Angeles, Kansas, Alabama, Japan).

After watching a video about NASA's Constellation project, which introduced Rocket World participants to NASA's new Aries and Orion spacecrafts, NASA engineer Matt Strickland provided attendees with a live and personal overview of the project via telepresence. Students residing in the shared virtual world then asked Strickland a variety of questions about the Constellation project, rockets, space travel, and related topics. During the lively discussion students and their teachers were free to explore a wide range of 3D rockets, lunar landers, and spacecraft that populated the virtual world, or experiment with immersive learning objects such as an interactive space arm.

After talking with their "very own" NASA engineer some of the students entered a Mars simulator where they were challenged with colonizing the red planet. Others repaired the Hubble telescope virtually by way of a spacewalk simulator. Some students built and experimented with virtual 3D rockets, while others built real (physical) rockets. And some students mixed reality by combining virtual and real rockets using a new generation of augmented reality.


The Immersive Education Initiative's primary objectives with Rocket World include the ongoing design, development, and deployment of:

  1. An open, royalty-free immersive learning framework that consists of a core STEM curricula based that is flexible, extensible and scalable;

  2. A comprehensive portfolio of integrated immersive STEM learning experiences that a) engage learners, b) promote a deeper level of understanding and better retention of the subject matter than is possible with traditional teaching techniques, and c) lead to higher performance on standardized assessment tests;

  3. A new generation of automated assessment, evaluation, and early intervention tools that are integrated directly and seamlessly into every immersive education learning experience;

  4. A "learning ladder" for students that facilitates and promotes long-lasting linkages between students across different grade levels by connecting elementary, high school, and college students through peer-assisted collaborative immersive learning experiences;

  5. A "learning ladder" for teachers that enables high quality educator-to-educator training and professional development, enabling educators to be trained on, and receive support for, a new generation of learning technology at a distance.

How to Participate

Join the Immersive Education Initiative's Rocket World group to participate. Membership is free and open to the global academic and scientific community. Click here now to join.


About Immersive Education
Immersive Education ( combines interactive 3D graphics, commercial game and simulation technology, virtual reality, voice chat (Voice over IP/VoIP), Web cameras (webcams) and rich digital media with collaborative online course environments and classrooms. Immersive Education gives participants a sense of "being there" even when attending a class or training session in person isn't possible, practical, or desirable, which in turn provides educators and students with the ability to connect and communicate in a way that greatly enhances the learning experience. Unlike traditional computer-based learning systems, Immersive Education is designed to immerse and engage students in the same way that today's best video games grab and keep the attention of players. Immersive Education supports self-directed learning as well as collaborative group-based learning environments that can be delivered over the Internet or using fixed-media such as CD-ROM and DVD. Shorter mini-games and interactive lessons can be injected into larger bodies of course material to further heighten and enrich the Immersive Education experience.

About the Media Grid
The Media Grid is a public utility for digital media. Based on new and emerging distributed computational grid technologies, the Media Grid builds upon existing Internet and Web standards to create a unique network optimized for digital media delivery, storage, and processing. As an on-demand public computing utility, a range of software programs and Web sites can use the Media Grid for delivery and storage of rich media content, media processing, and computing power. The Media Grid is an open and extensible platform that enables a wide range of applications not possible with the traditional Internet alone, including: Massive Media on Demand (MMoD); Interactive digital cinema on demand; Immersive Education and distance learning; Truly immersive multiplayer games and Virtual Reality (VR); Hollywood movie and film rendering, special effects, and composition; Real-time rendering of high resolution graphics; Real-time visualization of complex weather patterns; Real-time protein modeling and drug design; Telepresence, telemedicine, and telesurgery; Vehicle and aircraft design and simulation; Visualization of scientific and medical data.

The Grid Institute leads the design and development of the global Media Grid through the open standards organization in collaboration with industry, academia, and governments from around the world.

To learn more about the Media Grid, Immersive Education or the Education Grid visit:, and