Shark Tank Open – Presenter’s Spotlight -Virtual Reality Room

This year’s Shark Tank Open, sponsored by Minnesota State Educational Innovations, will feature 12 innovative project proposals in three categories.

One category at the 2019 Shark Tank Open is Virtual Reality. Get to know the presenters and preview their pitches in the Presenter’s Spotlight below.


Presenters: Randi Madisen, James Nalen, Rahul Kane, and David Lyons

Institution: Century College

Project Title: Virtual Reality Laboratory in the Century College Library

In 2 sentences, describe your Shark Tank Open project:
Century Library would like to offer a Virtual Reality lab where students could use headsets and other equipment to develop discipline-specific knowledge, skills and abilities within a simulated environment. The Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality technology would be used to supplement teaching in anatomy, cosmetology, geography, art, history, interior design, psychology, or any number of additional subjects.

What part of Shark Tank Open are you looking forward to most?
Sharing our ideas about virtual reality with other innovators as well as hearing how others plan to use virtual reality at their institutions (we understand there are three other groups focusing on virtual reality).

Who is the innovator that inspires you most (past or present)?
Guy Hamernik from Rochester Community and Technical College. Guy was awarded innovation funding in 2018 to create a virtual reality laboratory at RCTC. He encouraged us to apply.


Presenters: Jenna Trenberth and Alicia Musselman

Institution: Lake Superior College

Project title: Expanding Access through Virtual Reality

In 2 sentences, describe your Shark Tank Open project:
Traditional outreach involves either an Admission Representative talking about campus and specific programs or prospective students visiting campus; augmented and virtual reality upends this format and allows students who cannot visit campus or view a program to still see and interact with a campus space, a classroom, or a hands-on program demonstration. Our proposal utilizes AR/VR to bridge the equity gap by bringing the Lake Superior College experience to underrepresented student populations such as traditional college students from low-income, minority, and immigrant families and non-traditional students who face additional barriers to higher education.

What part of Shark Tank Open are you looking forward to most?
Viewing past Shark Tank winners exhibit their innovations.

Who is the innovator that inspires you most (past or present)?
Bill and Melinda Gates


Presenters: Mark Gill, Alan Srock, and Scott Miller

Institution: St. Cloud State University

Project Title: MN-NICE (Minnesota Networked Interactive Collaborative Experience)

In 2 sentences, describe your Shark Tank Open project:
We propose a shared, collaborate Virtual Reality environment for class-room scale audiences. Students, presenters and other participants will be able to see each other and work together in a shared experience.

What part of Shark Tank Open are you looking forward to most?
Demonstrating what could be the future of education, and all the Ready Player One references.

Who is the innovator that inspires you most (past or present)?
If we’re going way back, Jaron Lanier was the one who showed me the path my entire career would follow.


Presenters: Dr Kristin Kovar, Dr Scott Kuecker, Chuck Olsen, and Kate Borowske

Institution(s): Kovar, Kuecker, Borowske: Southwest Minnesota State University, Olsen: Visual

Project Title: Bringing the Farm to the Classroom With Virtual Reality

In 2 sentences, describe your Shark Tank Open project:
Even in the middle of farm country, it’s difficult to schedule visits to various animal farms for students in an animal science course. With 360-degree video of selected facilities filmed by a Twin Cities production company, students will be able to explore these facilities, their design, and how the animals interact with their environment and each other in, for example, a robot dairy.

What part of Shark Tank Open are you looking forward to most?
Bringing the Sharks nose-to-nose with a farm animal or two with the VR headset.

Who is the innovator that inspires you most (past or present)?
Hedy Lamarr


For more information on the Shark Tank Open please contact Stephen Kelly.

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