Amrutha Vasan: Making High-Quality STEM Resources Accessible and Affordable
Hi there, my name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist hanging out on Planet Earth. Today I’m interviewing Amrutha Vasan, the co-founder and COO of Inspirit Learning, Inc. which is trying to help close the gaps in STEM education.
Spiffy: Welcome, Amrutha, let’s jump right in. What challenge are you addressing with Inspirit Learning, Inc.?
Amrutha: So happy to be here, Spiffy! At Inspirit, we are building the next generation of teaching and learning tools - immersive labs and 3D simulations that replace the 'digital whiteboard' and old-school animated video lectures. Our tools are incredibly easy to customize, integrate into assessments, and share across web, mobile, and VR platforms. We are building the largest library of customizable and curriculum-aligned 3D and VR science content for the aspiring teenager and curious learner sitting in boring classrooms around the world. Everything we make at Inspirit is backed by research done at Stanford University and Georgia Tech.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Amrutha: My co-founder and I spent time researching how immersive technology could fill gaps in low-income schools in slums in India and inner-city schools in Atlanta. We were looking to build effective VR learning tools that were accessible to learners around the world. We originally wanted to start an NGO, and quickly realized that we needed to build a talented and diverse team. We decided to raise venture capital to build our dream team and platform—and that was the beginning of Inspirit!
Spiffy: That’s amazing! Can you elaborate on how you and the organization are working towards a more equitable world?
Amrutha: We are growing a community of Gen-Z creators that build and monetize their expertise through live classes in the Metaverse, through affordable tutoring services for underserved and marginalized groups, with the goal of inspiring and encouraging inclusive learning in science and STEM education across diverse communities around the world.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent Inspirit milestone or initiative and the impact it makes on your community.
Amrutha: We have released a free web learning platform over at the website with hundreds of interactive 3D models, simulations, cheat sheets, and study guides across high school and AP Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. We are building a business with a revenue model in which we can keep access to high-quality STEM resources like these free forever. This is the first step we’ve taken towards our mission of making high-quality STEM resources accessible and affordable to diverse learners around the globe!
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Amrutha: When we started building Inspirit back in 2019, we built out interactive STEM content for the Google Cardboard. Needless to say, it wasn’t a great experience. We built a simple interactive lab on the web as well as Oculus Quest as an experiment—and instantly realized that the latter was much better. We scrapped all our Google Cardboard content and rebuilt our entire platform for the web. We built it on the web instead of a VR headset because we value accessibility and affordability.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Amrutha: The world is so competitive, and it’s important to remember that life is a marathon and not a race. I truly believe that if you work hard and are sincere about your work, good things will happen. While it may be cliched, a hardworking average person almost always does better than a lazy brilliant person. Aside from sheer effort, you attract what you put out into the world—so of course, good vibes only!
Spiffy: Wise words, Amrutha! Thanks for speaking with me today—it’s been an honor!
Amrutha Vasan is a co-founder & COO of Inspirit. She is a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient for 2022, and an SXSW EDU Launch competition winner. She has a background in ISyE from Georgia Tech and in research in the immersive STEM education space. She decided to leave the corporate world behind and try to make a difference by founding an XR creation platform, Inspirit, to help close the gaps created by socioeconomic differences in STEM education. (Nominated by Maria Salamanca at Unshackled Venture. First published on the Ladderworks website on March 30, 2022.)© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.