A researcher at the Lagos Business School has won a $234,000 grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc.
A statement on the website of the school said Dr Eugene Ohu, won the grant to conduct a two-year virtual reality research titled Teaching Children Empathy and Compassion through Virtual Reality Games.
The project “will explore the potentials of virtual reality (VR) for character development”, the statement said, adding, that the grant was awarded under TWCF’s Global Innovations for Character Development (GICD) initiative.
“It will be an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience where teenagers take the perspectives of ethnic groups different from theirs, to appreciate their identity and share in their sufferings,” Dr Ohu was quoted as saying.
“We also hope to train teachers at the study schools on the new VR teaching models, so as to incorporate them into the Civics and Social Studies curriculum of secondary schools.”
According to the statement, Dr Ohu runs a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab at Lagos Business School, where he explores the implications of the immersive, interactive and perspective-taking characteristics of technologies like computers, mobile devices and virtual reality (VR) for character development, learning, behaviour modification, wellbeing, and productivity.
Dr Ohu’s project will target an initial group of teenagers, who make up more than 60 percent of Nigeria’s population, and explore perspective-taking capabilities of VR to increase understanding for the identities of others different from ourselves.
Other collaborators in the project include Judith Okonkwo, founder of Imisi3D, and Extended Reality creation lab in Yaba, Lagos, and Prof. Karen Schrier, a digital games expert at Marist College, USA.
Templeton World Charity Foundation funds scientific breakthroughs and provides practical tools to fuel the human search for meaning, purpose, and truth.
Through the Global Innovations for Character Development initiative, it seeks to establish character development as a lever for social change, increased prosperity, and overall human flourishing.