The promise of Dreamscape Learn was made in late 2019, when Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, the nation’s largest and, for eight years running, “most innovative” university, visited a unique virtual reality entertainment center in Los Angeles, California called “Dreamscape Immersive.” For ten years Crow had been looking for a partnership and a technology that would allow students to be transformed into scientists in order to realize an ultimate pedagogical aspiration: education through exploration. The experiences he encountered there were built upon a groundbreaking new approach to virtual reality; powered by advanced proprietary software, the revolutionary platform merged the techniques of motion capture and full body mapping to render audiences, in real time, as life-like avatars inside computer-generated worlds. Suddenly many of the limitations of VR were gone. Immersive storytelling and shared experiences became a real possibility. Led by producer, screenwriter, and former head of DreamWorks Motion Pictures, Walter Parkes, Dreamscape Immersive combined the emotional power of Hollywood storytelling, the visceral excitement of great theme-park rides, and this extraordinary new technology. Wowing both audiences and the media, Dreamscape was praised for breaking new ground in immersive entertainment…and was poised to do the same thing in education. Based on Parkes’ and Crow’s shared vision to transform education in the 21st Century, Dreamscape Immersive and ASU partnered to begin building and testing its first VR-based education products. The student and faculty response to Dreamscape Learn’s initial education applications has been overwhelmingly positive, and the impact on student motivation and learning outcomes have been immediately, and dramatically, evident. Out of this early success, Dreamscape Learn has emerged as a new company 100% dedicated to transforming education through the integration of cinematic storytelling, cutting edge immersive technologies and advanced pedagogy. It’s flagship products include: Biology in the Alien Zoo – an immersive set of biology missions that take place in a vast and beautifully rendered world (a futuristic, space-based sanctuary to protect the endangered species of the galaxy). Students are positioned as actual biologists encountering novel life science problems in the sanctuary that they must analyze and solve using the quantitative techniques and scientific understanding of practicing biologists. Composed of six modules, each covering a key pillar of introductory biology, Biology in the Alien Zoo replaces traditional wet labs and can connect to any introductory biology course. The Immersive Classroom – a platform that enables live, instructor-led class time to be conducted from within a virtual recreation of any imaginable location. As just a few illustrative examples, teachers might lead class from the lunar surface, inside King Tut’s tomb, from the sea floor, inside a tumor cell. These Immersive Classroom sessions can be synchronous experiences or recorded “lectures” with up to 32 fully immersed students and either 1 or 2 teachers.
Dreamscape Learn is a transformational education company born from a groundbreaking entertainment platform.
CEO & Co-Founder, Dreamscape Immersive
Walter Parkes is a motion picture producer, writer, former studio executive and currently the Co-Founder and CEO of the location-based virtual reality company Dreamscape Immersive. Films produced or executive produced by Parkes have garnered numerous awards and have grossed over $6B worldwide, and include Gladiator, Minority Report, the Men In Black series, Free Solo, Flight, Catch Me If You Can, Awakenings, The Kite Runner, Amistad and many others. As a screenwriter, Parkes is largely acknowledged as a pioneer, along with writing partner Lawrence Lasker, in the development of the "tech-thriller" genre with WarGames, a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominee, and Sneakers, starring Robert Redford. As the founding co-head of Dreamworks Studios, Parkes, along with partner and wife Laurie MacDonald, was responsible for the development and production of the studio’s diverse slate of films which included, for only the second time in Academy history, three consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners American Beauty, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind. Parkes’ current focus is on “Dreamscape Learn,” a partnership with Arizona State University aimed at redefining remote and in-person learning through the implementation of emotional narrative and mixed reality technologies. Previous experience in education incudes serving on the Yale University Council for ten years, and as its President for four. He is presently a Director of Para Los Ninos, a service organization that operates three charter schools in Downtown LA.
President, Arizona State University
Michael M. Crow is an educator, knowledge enterprise architect, science and technology policy scholar, and higher education leader. He became the sixteenth president of Arizona State University in July 2002 and has spearheaded ASU’s rapid and groundbreaking transformative evolution into one of America’s best public metropolitan research universities. As a model “New American University,” ASU simultaneously demonstrates comprehensive excellence, inclusivity representative of the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the United States, and consequential societal impact. Under his leadership, ASU has established twenty-five new transdisciplinary schools, including the School of Earth and Space Exploration, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and launched trailblazing multidisciplinary initiatives including the Biodesign Institute, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, and important initiatives in the humanities and social sciences. The inaugural recipient of the American Council on Education Award for Institutional Transformation, and one of TIME magazine’s “10 Best College Presidents,” he previously served as executive vice provost and professor of science and technology policy at Columbia University. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Public Administration, and University Vice Chairman of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, he is the author of books and articles analyzing knowledge enterprises, science and technology policy, and the design of higher education institutions and systems.
We believe the best educational designs integrate various pedagogical modalities. Students study; they apply knowledge and concepts; they learn by doing and they do in order to learn; they learn from text, from lecture, from visual and audio media, from hands-on experience and from each other. We design programs and products that tie all these modes of engagement together.
EQUITY AND ACCESS
ALL students should have the opportunity to be moved, challenged and inspired by humanity’s most beautiful and diverse art and architecture; by the extraordinary natural wonders of our Earth; and by the complex laws and systems of our universe. We are driven to bring students into direct contact with these objects, places, ideas and phenomena – and to bring students together to learn and collaborate with each other – regardless of geography and demography.
Josh Reibel has been a recognized leader in the education technology field for over 30 years. Josh was most recently CEO of Sokanu Interactive, the Internet's leading career discovery platform, now a division of Penn Foster after an acquisition in March 2021. Sokanu serves over 10M users per year via both direct-to-consumer and institutional higher education business lines. Prior to orchestrating a recapitalization of Sokanu and joining the company as CEO, Josh served as CEO of Amplify Learning after over a decade as President and COO of its predecessor company, Wireless Generation, where he oversaw the company’s acquisition by News Corp in 2010. Amplify is a leader in digital core K-12 curriculum, formative reading and math assessment, student performance analytics and targeted, personalized intervention tools. Prior to his time at Wireless Generation and Amplify, Josh helped launch and managed an online educational service at Kaplan for parents of children birth to age 6 -- eSCORE.com. Earlier in his career, he was the Ben D. Wood Fellow in Communications, Computing and Technology in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University where he also served as Associate Director of the Institute for Learning Technologies. He started his career as a high school English and philosophy teacher. In addition to his executive roles, Josh is Chairman of Kinems, which provides a movement-based, interactive gaming platform that integrates occupational therapy protocols and academic learning content for K-8 students with disabilities; he serves on the board of XAP Corporation, a provider of college and career readiness solutions to school districts and state education agencies as well as online application and transcript transmission solutions to state college and university systems; and he is Senior Advisor to New Markets Venture Partners, a leading growth stage double bottom line investment firm focused on the education and workforce industries. Josh has been a mentor to numerous education technology founders, and his guidance is frequently sought by venture and private equity funds assessing investment and acquisition opportunities in the education and workforce industries. Josh holds MA and Ed.M. degrees from Columbia and an AB from Harvard.
CEO, Dreamscape Learn
Aaron Grosky is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Dreamscape Immersive and Chief Operating Officer of Dreamscape Learn. Since helping form Dreamscape Immersive in 2016, he has guided the long-term strategic direction, creative vision, and operational execution across all aspects of the company’s businesses. Under his leadership, Dreamscape has evolved from a technology concept to a multi-category business with interests in education, government focused synthetic training & simulation, and location-based entertainment with a footprint spanning across the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Prior to Dreamscape, Grosky spent 12 years as the President of Control Room, a private equity backed multi-platform content production and distribution company specializing in live and special event programming. While at Control Room, Grosky was the executive producer across all programming including live specials from artsits such as Beyonce, Madonna, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Foo Fighters, as well as broadcast events such as the FIFA World Cup Kickoff, A Decade of Difference: A Concert Celebrating 10 Years of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the 2009 Inaugural Green Ball hosted by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Live 8, Rock in Rio and The Sound of Change Live in support of improved Education, Health and Justice for women and girls worldwide. In 2007, Grosky was the executive producer of Live Earth, The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis. Together with Vice President Gore, Live Earth brought together 150 of the world’s top artists on 8 stages across 7 continents over 24 hours to combat the climate crisis through awareness and solutions. One of the largest global entertainment events of its time, Live Earth reached nearly two billion people through the event’s massive media architecture. Earlier in his career, Grosky spent 10 plus years in the music industry developing an expertise in the convergence of art and technology. He founded Shift Inc., a digital music services company, which was sold to Virgin Entertainment Group in 2005. Following the sale, Grosky joined Virgin Entertainment Group’s Digital Division where he served as the head of programming. Before founding Shift Inc., Grosky held the position of Chief of Creative Services for Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss’ record label, Almo Sounds, where he also served as Chief Digital Strategist in the early days of web 1.0 and the advent of digital music distribution.
President and COO, Dreamscape Immersive
Amit Kumar is a commercially-minded attorney with over 20 years of experience in the fields of complex commercial transactions, strategic partnerships, and IP licensing. Amit is General Counsel of Dreamscape Immersive, managing the legal and human resource functions of the company. Prior to joining Dreamscape, Amit held positions of Associate General Counsel at adidas America, where he negotiated and drafted contracts with the brand’s biggest headline influencers and partners - representing over one billion dollars in sales - and Vice President, Legal at TaylorMade Golf Company, where he led the acquisitions of multiple public and private companies while also overseeing the day-to-day legal operations of the company. Amit also spent portions of his career in private practice at leading global law firms, with a focus on multifaceted global IP transactions. Amit has an A.B. from U.C. Berkeley and J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.
General Counsel, Dreamscape Immersive
Debbie Medrano is a global leader with extensive experience in growing brands across product categories, channels, and geographies. A former food scientist turned CFO, Debbie brings 25 years of track record in building and transforming entertainment, technology and consumer products companies serving in financial, P&L, and strategic leadership roles. Debbie is currently the CFO of Dreamscape Immersive, a venture-backed narrative-based virtual reality experience company that creates immersive experiences for education, entertainment, and simulated training. She leads the finance function and serves as a strategic leader for the business. Debbie began her career as a candy designer at M&M/Mars. She then established an impressive career in strategy and finance including leading the strategy and business development function for Disney’s Consumer Products Division ($20 billion sales) and serving as CFO of Discovery Inc’s Global Enterprises and Studios business ($650 million sales). Debbie also held P&L leadership roles including heading Discovery Inc’s global lifestyle business ($300 million sales) with over 300 stores in Asia and Discovery’s global digital games and eCommerce business where she launched the company’s first simulation game to great success. She also served as the General Manager at GES Entertainment charged with establishing an international footprint for Harry Potter: the Exhibition™ that included Australia, Europe, Japan, and Singapore. Debbie grew up in Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin fluently. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.
CFO, Dreamscape Immersive
Caecilia Charbonnier was a professional tennis player (4th in Switzerland, WTA 256 in 1999). Following an injury to her shoulder, she became interested in computer graphics and sports medicine. She first obtained a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in 2006 in Computer Graphics from EPFL and a PhD degree in Computer Science in 2010 from MIRALab - University of Geneva. She is the Co-Founder and current President & Research Director of Artanim, a center specialized in motion capture technologies, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Dreamscape Immersive, a leading VR company, and President of the National Thematic Network Virtual Switzerland. She is also Senior Lecturer at the Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, and Professor of Practice at the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, Herberger Institute, Arizona State University. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on the use of motion capture for 3D animation, VR/AR, live performances, movement science, orthopedics and sports medicine. The results of her research have been published in over 100 international scientific articles and awarded several prizes and distinctions (2009 Eurographics Medical 1st Prize, 2011 ISAKOS Achilles Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Research Award, 2014 CAOS Best Technical Paper Award, 2014 EFORT Best Poster Discussion, 2015 SIGGRAPH Finalist of the Immersive Realities (VR/AR) Contest, 2016 Laval Virtual Award, 2017 Swiss ICT Award Finalist, 2022 Great Economy Special Jury Prize). She is one of the two creators of the award-winning and breakthrough VR technology leveraged by Dreamscape and Hollywood studios and talents to create the ultimate immersive experience for location-based entertainment, education and enterprise solutions. Besides research and technology development, she is also the creator and director of immersive experiences, including Real Virtuality: Immersive Explorers, VR_I, Geneva 1850, Abord the Mayflower and The Clockwork Forest. Her VR work has notably been showcased at renowned film festivals such as Sundance New Frontier (2016, 2018), Cannes Film Festival (2016) and the Biennale di Venezia (2018).
Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Dreamscape Immersive
Chris is the Senior Vice President of Academic Partnerships at Dreamscape Learn. Reporting to CEO Josh Reibel, he is responsible for the company’s new account sales and client success activities. Before joining Dreamscape Learn, Chris served as Chief Sales Officer at Echo360, a leading SaaS video learning and engagement platform provider to the higher education industry. During his 15-year tenure, he built and led the global revenue team responsible for growing recurring bookings by 1,200% and new customer logos by 10X, culminating in a sale to private equity investors in 2022. Chris managed Echo360’s direct and indirect sales, marketing, customer success, and technical support teams across the North America, EMEA, and APAC regions. Prior to Echo360, Chris spent two decades in sales and business development leadership positions at early-stage application software companies serving the Fortune 500 and global telecom industries after starting his career at IBM.
SVP, Academic Partnerships, Dreamscape Learn
"No player in all of free roam VR...comes even close to what Dreamscape achieves in art, storytelling, immersion, and presence."
Executive Vice President and COO, Arizona State University
Dr. Chris Howard is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of ASU, A Public Enterprise. Howard works closely with President Crow and the other executive vice presidents to coordinate enterprise-wide initiatives and advancement, oversee ASU Enterprise affiliates, advance new enterprise relationships and opportunities, and integrate ASU Enterprise planning and strategy. He is a distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Academy and earned a doctorate in politics as a Rhodes Scholar from the University of Oxford. He also has an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, and in 2018 received the school's Alumni Achievement Award. Howard's service to his country began as a helicopter pilot, then as an intelligence officer, where he was assigned to the elite Joint Special Operations Command. He served in Afghanistan in the Air Force Reserve and was awarded the Bronze Star. Howard concluded his career as a Reserve Military Attaché to Liberia, Africa. Previously, Howard served as the eighth president of Robert Morris University, a nationally ranked doctoral granting university in suburban Pittsburgh, beginning on February 1, 2016. Before serving at RMU, Howard was President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Howard also served as vice president for Leadership & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Oklahoma. Previously he worked in General Electric's Corporate Initiatives Group and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Corporate Associates Program. Howard served on the National Security Education Board, appointed by President Barack Obama. He is a trustee on the Harvard University Board of Overseers and also serves on the Board of Directors of AvalonBay Communities. Howard is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Young Presidents Organization, the Aspen Strategy Group and Trilateral Commission, and Sigma Pi Phi, the oldest African-American fraternity in the United States. Howard won the Campbell Trophy, the nation’s highest academic award for a senior college football player. He also is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and a former member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Howard is the founder and a trustee emeritus of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports South African youth. His wife, Barbara Noble Howard, serves as an Arizona State University Fellow for nonprofit leadership. She also serves on several philanthropic boards and hails from South Africa. They have two adult sons, Cohen and Joshua.
Founder and Chairman, Cintana Education
Doug Becker ardently believes universities play an indispensable role in the development of nations, communities, and individuals, and that more students deserve access to the resources of the world’s top-tier universities. His work has been driven by his vision of using highly innovative design principles to deliver breakthroughs in quality and scale for all levels of education. In 1983, Doug co-founded Sterling Partners — since then the firm has become a leading investor in education and other industries, having made over 80 investments over the years. Doug subsequently founded Laureate Education, the largest higher education company in the world, which grew to more than 1,000,000 students enrolled at 70 campus-based and online institutions owned or managed by Laureate and its affiliates. These universities operated over 150 campuses in 23 countries around the world, offering bachelors and advanced degrees in almost every field of study. Under Doug’s leadership, Laureate became the world’s largest Certified B CorpTM and the first publicly traded company that is organized as a Public Benefit Corporation. Doug served as Chairman and CEO of Laureate from its inception in 1999 through the end of 2017 and as Chairman through 2018. Prior to founding Laureate, Doug was the Chairman and CEO of its predecessor, Sylvan Learning Systems, during which period Sylvan became the largest K-12 tutoring company in North America, with over 1,000 tutoring centers, more than 200,000 students and a brand that became a household name. Along with co-founder Chris Hoehn-Saric, Doug launched many other notable education companies within Sylvan during this period including Sylvan Prometric (Now Prometric Inc.) which became the global leader in computer-based testing and assessment. As part of his commitment to community service, Doug has served on many non-profit boards and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins International. He has served for 16 years as the Chair of the Board of the International Youth Foundation, a global NGO focusing on the needs of youth in over 100 countries, including many of the most impoverished nations. As of September 2022, he will continue to serve as Chair Emeritus.
Managing Partner, GSV Ventures
Deborah Quazzo is the Managing Partner of GSV Ventures, a venture fund investing in education and workforce skills technologies that are disrupting the $7 Trillion global sector. The fund invests globally — primarily in the US and India. Deborah has been twice named to Insider’s list of top 100 seed investors. In addition, she is co-founder of the ASU+GSV Summit, The preeminent gathering of leaders in education and workforce skilling. Now in its 14th year, the ASU+GSV Summit celebrates innovations and innovators across the global “preK to Gray” learning and workforce skills landscape and attracts over 5,300 live and 10,000 virtual attendees. Deborah’s current boards include Ascend Learning, BrightChamps, Classplus, Class Technologies, Degreed, Dreamscape Learn, Ellucian, PhotoMath, Physicswallah, Simplilearn and Turnitin. She previously served on the board of Aakash Educational Services Ltd. She is a member of the boards of The Common Ground Foundation, The Khan Academy Thought Leadership Council and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She previously served on a number of education organization boards including The Chicago Board of Education (appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel) and KIPP: Chicago. Deborah graduated cum laude with a BA in history from Princeton University in 1982 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1987.
Managing Partner, BOLD Capital
Teymour Boutros-Ghali has over the last 40 years established a successful track record as an investor and entrepreneur focused on the commercialization of disruptive technologies. He is co-founder and Managing Partner of BOLD Capital Partners, a family of early-stage venture funds and has also been a founder and CEO of several successful technology companies. Earlier in his career, Mr. Boutros-Ghali was an Executive with Time Warner, where he held several roles including Publisher of Time International. He joined Time Inc. from the Boston Consulting Group where he was a leader of their media and telecommunications practice. Mr. Boutros-Ghali holds an SM from the Sloan School of Management; a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a BA from Cambridge University. He sits on the board of several private companies and has lectured on entrepreneurship at UCLA’s Anderson School.
BOARD & ADVISORS
Chief of Realm 4, Project Acceleration
Lisa Flesher is the Chief of Realm 4, Project Acceleration at Arizona State University where she helps guide unique, technology-enhanced projects to advance initiatives in Realm 4 - Education Through Exploration. An example of this work includes Dreamscape Learn which empowers learners through fully immersive and interactive VR learning experiences. Her background includes developing technical tools and solutions focused on student support and success, including Starbucks, Global Freshman Academy, me3, and our partnership with the Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. Flesher earned her undergraduate degree in education and taught seventh grade math before pursuing a master’s in higher and postsecondary education.
Associate Dean of Learning Innovation in Ed Plus
Mike Angilletta is a President's Professor in the School of Life Sciences and the Associate Dean of Learning Innovation at Ed Plus. He earned a BS in Biology from The College of New Jersey and a PhD in Ecology & Evolution from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Mike served on the faculty at Indiana State University (2000-2010), where he was promoted to the rank of Professor. While at ISU, Mike established an international reputation as an evolutionary biologist who focuses on adaptation to temperature, publishing numerous scientific articles and an award-winning book (Thermal Adaptation, Oxford University Press). After coming to ASU in 2010, Mike got involved in efforts to improve the undergraduate curriculum in biology, which ultimately led him to serve as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs (2012-2014) and then the Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs (2014-2020). In this roles, Mike administered nine degree programs on campus while doubling enrollment by launching three degree programs online. His team partnered with CogBooks to expand the use of adaptive learning technology in the curriculum and partnered with Labster and Google to develop online laboratory courses in virtual reality. These experiences enabled Mike to transition to a new position in the School of Life Sciences as the Associate Director of Learning Innovation. In this role, Mike collaborated on a university-wide initiative called Dreamscape Learn—a partnership between ASU and Dreamscape Immersive that combines Hollywood storytelling and cutting-edge technology to enable students to conduct collaborative research in a virtual world. Now, Mike serves as the Associate Dean of Learning Innovation in Ed Plus, where he leads the development of learning experiences that blend best practices in teaching with emerging tools in digital technology.
John Vanden Brooks
Associate Dean of Immersive Learning in Ed Plus
John VandenBrooks is a Professor in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and the Associate Dean of Immersive Learning in EdPlus at Arizona State University. He earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry at the University of Michigan, his doctorate in geology and geophysics at Yale University, and was a postdoctoral fellow in physiology at Arizona State University. Previously, VandenBrooks was an Associate Professor of Physiology at Midwestern University (2014-2022). While there, he served as the Associate Director of Veterinary Physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. In this role, he was a founding faculty member of the College of Veterinary Medicine and led the development, alignment and mapping of the basic science curriculum culminating in the successful accreditation of the college. In recognition of his outstanding achievement as an educator in the field of veterinary medicine, he was awarded the American Association of Veterinary Colleges Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award. At Midwestern, VandenBrooks also served as the chair of the IACUC overseeing all animal use for research and teaching on campus and he was the core facility director managing centralized research facilities on campus and multi-million dollar capital equipment budgets. He is best known for his paleophysiological research on how variation in atmospheric oxygen levels affected the physiology and evolution of animals over geologic time including the evolution of insect gigantism, but he has also worked on why animals die when they overheat, the epidemiology of tick borne diseases, cyborg beetles, storage systems for alternative fuels and more. His research has been covered by a variety of media programs including on the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel, the BBC, and the Science Channel. VandenBrooks accepted a position as the Associate Dean of Immersive Learning in EdPlus at Arizona State University in 2022. In this current role, he leads the Dreamscape Learn and Neo Bio initiatives. Dreamscape Learn is a partnership between ASU and Dreamscape Immersive that combines Hollywood storytelling and cutting-edge technology to enable students to conduct collaborative research in a virtual world. Neo Bio is a fully aligned adaptive biology curriculum that combines innovative skills-based pedagogy with narrative-driven Dreamscape Learn VR experiences to increase student outcomes.