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Ed3 Weekly Issue #82: Worlds Collide
Navigating the Future of Education with AI and VR
Hello web3 and education friends,
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Welcome to my latest issue, this week's insights offer a glimpse into how AI, VR, and metaverse technologies are reimagining learning environments, steering towards a more student-centered and interactive future.
The shifting focus from the once-hyped metaverse to the practical applications of generative AI underscores a significant trend in educational technology. While the metaverse, with its immersive potential, continues to explore its niche in educational settings, the ease of use and wide accessibility of generative AI tools have made them a cornerstone in contemporary education.
These AI tools are not just reshaping how content is created and ideas are generated, but also how we approach complex decision-making and problem-solving within educational leadership.
In the realm of VR, insights from Jeremy Bailenson, a prominent figure in VR research, suggest a recalibration of how we use these technologies in educational settings. The emphasis on shorter, more meaningful VR experiences aligns with the need for impactful learning moments rather than prolonged exposure.
This approach not only reduces risks like VR addiction and simulator sickness but also enhances the educational value of VR. By focusing on scenarios that are dangerous, impossible, counterproductive, or expensive to replicate in real life, VR can offer unique learning experiences that are both safe and cost-effective.
Educators are encouraged to explore these technologies, not just as tools for delivering content, but as platforms for fostering a deeper understanding and connection with the material. By blending AI's analytical prowess with VR's experiential learning, we can create a more dynamic, engaging, and effective educational environment.
The future of education, empowered by AI, VR, and other emerging technologies, is not just about embracing new tools. It's about redefining the learning experience, making it more interactive, personalized, and aligned with the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Image by University of Michigan
Jeremy Bailenson, a veteran in virtual reality (VR) research, shared his insights on creating impactful learning experiences using extended reality technologies during a talk at the Michigan Union. Despite working on monumental projects like the $2.3 billion Sphere in Las Vegas, he urges a focus on shorter, meaningful VR experiences. At Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which he heads, a 30-minute rule is enforced to reorient users to reality, emphasizing VR's optimal use for unique, brief tasks rather than everyday activities like checking emails.
Bailenson introduced the DICE framework to evaluate VR experiences, suitable for scenarios that are Dangerous, Impossible, Counterproductive, or Expensive in real life. Examples include training conservationists on environmental impacts or using VR for cost-effective corporate training. He highlighted the use of VR in active shooter training at Walmart, which played a crucial role in saving lives during the 2019 El Paso shooting.
He also discussed ongoing research on VR addiction, simulator sickness, the reality-blurring effects of VR, its educational applications, group bonding in virtual spaces, empathy building, and the psychological impact on children. Emphasizing moderation, Bailenson believes in the power of short VR experiences to create profound impacts, diverging from the industry view of VR as the next smartphone. He argues for a balanced approach to VR, focusing on when and how it should be used to maximize its benefits.
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