QatarDebate is launching an innovative concept in the world of debate – by bringing Virtual Reality (VR) technology into the debate learning process to extend the world-class training it offers the community.
The Qatar Foundation (QF) member is one of the global pioneers in employing VR as a tool for motivating individuals of all ages to enjoy learning the art of debate, by providing immersive and realistic experience for users and achieving positive results by eradicating the fear of public speaking.
The idea was initiated by Abdullah Ahmad Al-Emadi - a former debater and a current student at QF partner university Northwestern University in Qatar – and adopted by QatarDebate after it identified the opportunity to create new and innovative value for its stakeholders.
Al-Emadi said "It is a stimulating experience that serves youth who want to learn debating but lack the courage to showcase their skills; who have the courage but lack the proper skillset; and who are too shy to speak out. It also offers a valuable solution for adults who fear public speaking, helping them to overcome those feelings.
"As a former debater, I know the challenges that junior debaters face, and the one challenge that stood out the most was fear of public speaking, which ultimately reflected on my overall performance”.
“The idea focuses mainly on developing an interactive and entertaining method to explore debating. Debaters can put on their VR headsets and get immersed into a virtual space, allowing the user to interact with their environment.”
Dr. Mahmoud Barraj, Outreach Program Specialist, QatarDebate, said: “A key element of a VR-based approach for debaters training is the level of presence, along with the empathy inflicted on the trainees, that will allow them to experience realistic and emotion-rich situations in a virtual environment”.
Dr. Barraj praised QatarDebate’s continuous exploration of solutions that serve the community, through adopting the latest technologies with the aim of facilitating access to various elements of the art of debate. Several scientific papers have highlighted the significant impact of deploying VR within the education sector.
“VR is still an emerging technology in terms of recognizing its full potential in education,” Dr. Barraj said. “We must think about what's possible now, so that when the technology becomes more prevalent, we can leverage it to create life-changing learning experiences.”
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