Last spring, a mutual friend invited us to his home for dinner, and we got to talking—about how Alex created educational curricula for urban development, and how Joel was a journalist who had moved into user experience and adult education—and we realized we both had one common goal:
To use our skills to make learning relevant and fun.
From the discussions that followed over coffee, beer, and the occasional chocolate chip cookie, we decided to build a network of virtual maker spaces where kids can play games to learn, then make games to share.
And RealityNext was born.
Our Founding Team
Alex Stolyarik has spent nearly a decade implementing project-based experiential education internationally. In 2011, as a member of the Democracy and Art nonprofit, he originated a joint venture between the British “London Metropolitan University” MARCH and the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. A year later he launched a test program designed to engage graduate students with “real-world” land development projects. In three years of program refinement, he and his team organically grew neighborhood development collectives, jump-started public workshops, and graduated 80 students with dual degrees in Public Administration and Planning.
Alex is a participant of the emerging markets cross-registration program at HBS with MS degree from the MIT.
What I believe is possible: With recent advancements in Virtual Reality technology, we have the advantage to experience our world from the new “inside-out/outside-in” dimension. We can erase borders and practice our global intracultural future immersively, as in “for real.”
What I propose: Use immersive technologies, gaming and play to innovate in education ecosystems. Updated knowledge delivery can most effectively impact nonviolent human development and progress.
Why now: As an educator, I saw that it’s nearly impossible to facilitate and simultaneously explore different scenarios of project development in real-time experiential education; I know from my work with schools and colleges the enormous amount of financial and human resources we spend to facilitate the “learn-by-making” algorithm. Now, with the advancement of mixed realities, artificial intelligence, and virtual conferencing, we can collaborate internationally and conduct distributed education experiences in a new medium beyond the current the constraints of base reality.
Joel Magalnick has worked for over 15 years as a journalist, writer, product designer, and educator. His consulting company, The Refined Story, worked with companies and nonprofits to help them engage with their stakeholders through innovative digital products and content strategies. Today, as an educator, Joel pays forward the knowledge he has gained over the years by teaching courses on writing and digital practices, but as the editor-in-chief of a regional media organization he helped to launch the careers of several journalists through his mentorship.
Joel holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington.
Our Advisory Team
Art Feinglass has been a farmer, soldier, teacher, journalist, director and producer of documentaries and interactive theater. He is the founder and artistic director of the Seattle Jewish Theater Company. Feinglass holds a Masters in Writing from the University of Washington and has taught Literature at Hebrew Union College and PR and Marketing at New York University. He is the author of short stories, children’s books and Public Relations for Nonprofits. He splits his time between New York and Seattle.