8D World Launches Wiz World Cup in Partnership With Six Shanghai Government Agencies
Wiz World Online
SHANGHAI, CHINA and WOBURN - 8D World has released Wiz World Online (www.wizworldonline.com), the world's first virtual world dedicated for global English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) learners to improve their spoken English in a highly motivating environment.
Wiz World Online was first released in Chinese to the general public and has attracted a rapidly growing user base while partnering with hundreds of public and private schools in China. In addition, users can go directly to www.wizworldonline.com to join.
In July, 8D World will be working with six Shanghai government agencies and Shanghai Oriental Digital Community to launch the Wiz World Cup oral English competition in anticipation of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Taking advantage of the virtual world platform, Wiz World Cup is able to attract an unprecedented number of contestants who only need a home computer and a broadband connection to participate. Such an innovative format has significantly raised the level of interest and participation.
"Classroom-based English education is very effective for written English learning. However, because of the traditional one-to-many teaching setting and lack of an immersive language environment, classroom-based teaching offers very little practice time for each individual to speak English. In addition, Asian English learners are typically shy and afraid of making mistakes in front of their peers, which creates additional challenges for them to improve their spoken English," said Alex Wang, CEO of 8D World. "In contrast, Wiz World Online leverages a virtual world design powered by advanced speech technologies and delivers an immersive English speaking environment that is long desired by the English learners."
8D World has received venture capital financing from Spark Capital and Gobi Partners.
"Spoken English is critical for every individual to effectively communicate in the increasingly globalized world," said Alex Finkelstein, general partner of Spark Capital. "Wiz World Online is designed for the global audience and has truly made our world smaller."
"Chinese parents pay enormous amount of attention to their child's education. Due to the lack of an immersive language environment, it's an age old problem for the Chinese to effectively improve their spoken English," said Lawrence Tse, partner of Gobi Partners. "Wiz World Online, for the first time, provides the mass market with such an English speaking language environment with first-person experience."
"Research in Second Language Acquisition has shown that when learners are engaged in fun activities, their subconscious learning is far more effective than conscious learning. What is more, they have a better retention rate with enhanced motivation and investment," said Dr. Jun Liu, chairman of the English Department at University of Arizona and former president of TESOL. "Wiz World Online has made a revolutionary move in making learning a fun experience through gaming at a self-directed pace. It caters to learners with different learning styles, balancing the individual's needs with dynamic group cohesion. The program is specially designed for communicative English language learning and conforms to many national and international standards."
About 8D World
8D World is the creator of Wiz World Online, the world's first virtual world dedicated for global English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) learners to improve their spoken English in a highly motivating environment. 8D World's team includes top English educators, award winning speech technology experts and world renowned multiplayer game designers. 8D World's management team has proven track records of successfully starting and growing global multimedia and software companies. 8D World is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA and has its Asia head office in Shanghai, China. To learn more, visit www.8dworld.com.
About Spark Capital
Spark Capital is a venture capital firm with investments focusing on the conflux of the media, entertainment and technology industries. The partners of Spark Capital carry diverse expertise in media and technology industries with proven track records identifying and actively building market-leading companies in sectors including infrastructure (Qtera, RiverDelta, Aether Systems, Broadbus and BigBand), networks (College Sports Television, TVONE and XCOM) services (Akamai, thePlatform, Admeld) and digital media (Twitter, Boxee, 5min). With a deep network that spans technology and media, investing and operations, Spark Capital provides world-class entrepreneurs and revolutionary companies with the resources to succeed in today's marketplace. Spark Capital has $622 million under management, and is based in Boston, Mass. To learn more, visit www.sparkcapital.com.
About Gobi Partners
Gobi Partners is a China-based venture capital firm focused on early stage IT and digital media investments. Gobi defines digital media as a new form of communication emerging from the convergence in telecommunications, media and technology. Gobi invests in companies that are pushing the frontier, integrating gaps or enabling consolidation within the digital media value chain. The Gobi Fund includes IBM, NTT DOCOMO, Sierra Ventures, McGraw-Hill, Steamboat Ventures (the venture capital arm of The Walt Disney Company), and Nokia Growth Partners as investors. For more information, please visit www.gobivc.com.
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