Jennifer Jacono is a member of the Learning Sciences + Human Performance Cluster. As director of Jacono Studios, she uses virtual reality to create educational videos for the classroom, medical industry and beyond.
Read on for highlights from her interview with us about Jacono Studios and how she’s changing the way training programs are implemented through the use of VR.
What inspired the idea for your business?
I have been producing films and media training programs for over 25 years. My education and experience have opened doors to a range of projects. From feature films to educational media, my studio produces high-quality films. In the last year, Jacono Studios has branched into virtual reality (VR) production by using the new technology to teach in ways that students already understand. Our projects are engaging and real. When creating educational media, some teaching styles produce a higher level of effectiveness. Our training programs have objectives that must be met while maintaining visual style and quality, and our VR technology provides teachers with detailed, data-driven feedback on student’s interactions and highlights areas of potential struggle. These VR lessons create opportunities to learn while allowing the student to enjoy the process. My inspiration derives from knowing each student takes pleasure in learning with our programs.
How has Central Florida’s innovation ecosystem supported your business growth?
Central Florida’s innovation ecosystem has supported me with guidance and advice to navigate my business toward growth. I have been working with Cenfluence Program Manager Jack Henkel for the past six months building our VR programs and I consider him a key part of our team. Jack and the Cenfluence staff have provided me access to new resources and contacts to help me on my journey. Additionally, his guidance regarding current projects and future funding opportunities has been invaluable. With the support of Cenfluence, Jacono Studios will develop as the VR education market grows, allowing our educational products to branch us into other sectors of business. We are excited to have the support and knowledge at our fingertips.
What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of? Why?
While working with the Florida Institute of Technology, we worked on one project that was a 45-hour international training program for the country of Brazil. As the producer of the course, I created training materials in Portuguese that were designed to be integrated in higher-level education settings, targeting doctors and nurses to help people with disabilities. Specifically, the program’s purpose was to educate the medical staff about autism and how to provide services in a country that had no prior training in this field. It was an honor to take on this project. I worked with an amazing team of experts all over the world. I do not speak Portuguese, but I do know how to manage a talented team to perfectly deliver what the client expects. My team was located all over the globe from Canada to Washington, to California to Brazil, and we worked through the pandemic to get it done on time and under budget. I am enormously proud that the Parana Autism Doctor Training Program will help doctors and families for years to come. It was satisfying to know that we built a brand-new program.
Have you faced any challenges unique to women business owners? What advice would you give another woman looking to start her own tech company?
Over the past 25 years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as executive producer on numerous projects, but I find that women are often a minority in this role. This is especially true with projects involving significant technological and scientific themes. However, I have been truly successful leading my teams because of my adaptability. I find that I don’t have to conform to popular convention regarding leadership. As a woman, I can define my own style and contributions easier than my male counterparts in the industry.
My advice to other women seeking to start a business in the technology field … DO IT! We always need passionate people who are willing to do what needs to be done to make their business dreams a reality. I have been surprised at the way the world responds when you have a strong commitment to what you are doing. It is a journey worth embarking on.