July 24, 2021

British Council selects Immerse as an ELTons Awards Finalist

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Immerse has been named as a finalist in this year’s prestigious ELTons Awards, in the Digital Innovation category. There were 180 entries from over 50 countries - and we are the first ever Virtual Reality platform application.

Honestly, there are only a few moments in life when you get the chance to pause and reflect on your goals, challenges, and achievements. And in a busy, constantly changing startup environment, it’s even harder to look around you and take it all in. But right now, we feel like this is one of those moments. 

We are excited and honored to have been nominated for the Digital Innovation Award by the British Council ELTons Committee – and to be in the same category as:

They are all worthy contenders – with some incredible innovations and products. So, of course, we would like to extend our fellow nominees our warm congratulations!

Regardless of the outcome of the awards, this is a huge moment for us. After four years of research, design and development, Immerse has come a long way. We are extremely proud of our tireless and talented team – and are grateful to everyone who has walked alongside us on this journey.  

I wanted to take some time to share what this nomination means to us – and a little about why we think Immerse truly is an innovation in ELT digital technology. 

The ELTons Category: Digital Innovation

The ELTons Award for Digital Innovation celebrates projects that reimagine the English language learning environment by pushing the ELT EdTech field in a new direction – or by making innovative use of existing technology. 

Who won last year?

In 2020, the very deserving Busuu English Smart Review walked away with the award in this category. The review tool helps learners revise and test themselves on everything they have learned and focus on their weak points in their everyday language practice. 

What’s innovative about Immerse?

If you’ve been following Immerse, you’ll know that we are the first Virtual Reality (VR) English language synchronous teaching and learning software company in the world. 

We believe that Virtual Reality is the new digital medium for English language teaching and learning. 

But is VR really going to be popular?

VR was a niche hobby half a decade ago – expensive, inaccessible and clunky equipment made it so. But today VR devices are no longer beyond the reach of everyday folk. PwC recently reported that VR is the fastest growing market in the entertainment and media industry. In fact, VR content revenues jumped 31.7% in a year, reaching $1.8 billion in 2020

The wireless, light and extremely versatile Oculus Quest 2 is a huge part of that growth and it costs less than half the cost of a smartphone. Facebook has sold 8 million of them since it was released merely 9 months ago. This is a significant number when you consider that it took Microsoft $10b in investment to sell 10m XBOX consoles – an inflection point that changed the face of gaming. 

Together this means VR adoption is on the verge of becoming mainstream. Think smartphones, laptops, or smart TVs; VR headsets will soon be just ubiquitous – and a new household staple.

With such a demand for the hardware, now is the time to bring mainstream VR education software into the mix.

VR is underexploited in the education arena. Immerse has cornered the market with a unique, research-informed platform that’s both intuitive to use and specifically designed for English language learning that equips educators to help learners achieve results.  

What does the team say about this nomination?

“This nomination means the world to our team,” says Founder and CEO, Quinn Taber. “Behind the scenes, we are a team of language education experts, VR developers and designers, and passionate entrepreneurs. After four years of bringing this cutting edge technology into the mainstream, it’s incredibly validating to have the British Council take note and recognize our accomplishments. It is milestones like this that bring us another step closer to our bold vision of making language immersion finally accessible to the 1.5 billion language learners worldwide.”

“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of this team – bringing together so many divergent skills to build a research-backed and pedagogically-sound tool is a dream job,” says Sara Davila, Head of Efficacy and Learning. “Immerse is designed to enable language schools to transform their classrooms into VR learning experiences. I’m excited to learn about this nomination – it reflects the accelerating momentum of VR in ELT, something we’ve believed in for years.”

“This nomination is exciting for us all. The long days of research, design and development that have gone into building the platform are all about transforming the way English is taught and learned using virtual reality,” says Jacob Furnari, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer. “The more awareness we can generate, the more lives we can touch, the more teachers we can enable, which means the more students we can help.”

About the British Council ELTons Awards

This will be the 19th annual ELTons Innovation Awards - a highly anticipated event every year, in the field of ELT. Run by the British Council, they celebrate “the most original courses, publications, projects, apps and platforms, and more”. 

Nominees and winners are focused on finding innovative ways to help English language learners and teachers achieve their learning and teaching goals. 

Judges are currently deliberating and the winners will be announced October 4th 2021. 

Wish us luck!

Christian Rowe
Christian Rowe is the Chief Revenue Officer at Immerse. He loves unearthing new ways to help people grow, educating markets about new possibilities, and leveraging cutting-edge technology to help make human transformation possible.

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