Prisms VR, an immersive platform for teaching math, announced it’s raised $12.5 million in a Series A round, which the company says will be used to expand its VR math literacy platform to more schools across the US.

Led by Andreessen Horowitz, the latest funding round brings Prisms VR’s lifetime funding to $19.1 million, according to CrunchBase.

Launched in 2021, Prisms focuses on teaching math in VR through problem-driven, tactile and visual learning. Essentially, it immerses students by confronting them with real-world problems—a far sight from the sort of drab word problems which typically involve far too many watermelons for comfort.

Prisms was founded by Anurupa Ganguly, who has taught math and physics across both Boston and New York City. The app’s development, Ganguly explains, was in response to the US education system, and how math instruction doesn’t appeal to real life situations.

“Technology has failed our students, especially where math is concerned. With new developments in immersive tech, we have the opportunity to make learning experiential and connected to students’ lives,” said Ganguly, founder and CEO at Prisms. “Prisms is the first learning solution that empowers students to experience real-life problems with their bodies versus reading about them divorced from personal experience. They are then able to build up to shorthand abstractions from intuitive visual and tactile experiences that lead to enduring retention and deeper understanding.”

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The company says it’s using the funds to accelerate growth and adoption of its product and team in addition to expanding programs to more schools across the US. The company is also currently developing products aimed at higher education and other subjects as well.

The startup’s Meta Quest app is available to parents, tutors and teachers with a seven-day free trial, costing $24 for an annual subscription to its growing library of immersive lessons. For now, it includes around two dozen modules, teaching from middle school fractions all the way to advanced algebra.

To date, Prisms has already been adopted by 100+ school districts across 26 states, the company says, bringing its app to more than 80,000 students.

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  • Darshan

    Schools need Special VR headsets which aren’t fully standalone, or if stand alone they got to have way to bypass battery totally and operate on line-in with extra layer of server support and curating control that make teaching easy.

    1) Headset ideally should have detachable facial interface (Snap on type)
    2) Student may own their own facial interface which they attach to unit for learning use, then detach at end of day and take home for clean up for next day use.
    3) Headset should be running from power supply that is provided by single cable which also work for content relay, connection port may be studded in benches with cabling for network.
    4) Headset should be ultra light weight and supporting hand tracking.
    5) Controllers may be omitted for simplicity. 3DoF pointer which student can own is also good add on.
    6) Mixed Reality headset that can convert VR to AR on fly is best for going in and out of VR/ Taking advantage of classroom + VR without fiddling with headset.

  • Darshan

    Biggest advantage of using VR in education is it provides isolation from distractions. like movie hall where darkness support ‘all eyes to screen’ for those who really went to see movie ;-) Thus with VR in education focus may increase. Also gamification of education naturally boost interest in other wise boring subject. Some subjects like history, geography, Space etc. get super advantage of offering beyond book knowledge by actually visiting the subject.

  • John

    I wish there had been more comments. Educational VR has tremendous possibilities overall. Math and science would be served very well. I especially see virtual hands-on physics experiments. Sure there would be practical hurdles. But so worth the work!
    From a 73 year old champion of education that can be fun.

  • Can’t

    I am one of the teachers piloting this VR lesson in my geometry classes and have to say — it is amazing. My students are learning in such a real world way and they LOVE it. It is so different to learn the volume of a cylinder by building an apartment building and comparing the number of apartments created in different heights and radii rather than in a dry paper and pencil way.

  • Dennis Higgins

    Sorry to be negative, but this is a beginner’s mistake. I made the same mistake from ’94 to ’05 when I kept upgrading my self-authored, math class software to take advantage of each new tech advance. First it was having images, then it was audio, then video, then text-to-speech. It’s all gratuitous. Like educational films they showed soldiers in WW2 where every few minutes (you never knew when!) a brief image of a hot looking girl would flash on the screen. “Extrinsic motivation” is the term. It’s good people are trying new things, but it’s not what students want. Unlike us, they’re not impressed by tech. What they want –and have always wanted– is clear, intelligent explanation. They don’t dislike intellectual activity; it’s that there’s so little of it around. Anyway, I saw this and it reminded me of my own sojourn into educational technology.