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Matt Crosslin

Better Ways of Looking at Virtual Reality in Education

2 min read

Hype about virtual reality is still building. It seems to be the "Little Future Idea That Could" - people want it to happen really, really, badly. But much of what we see is kind of gimmick-y at best. From my perspective, it seems that VR is suffering from the same problem that Second Life did: people are just trying to recreate the 2D web in 3D virtual spaces. Virtual Reality will require a new way of thinking about interaction and creation (among other concepts) to really become useful in any manner beyond a new way to play video games. The video above of ELEVR talks about their research in VR that really takes VR research into a more interesting realm. They are not looking at how to simulate the real world in VR, but how to create entire new experiences that give us new abilities of reason, communication, self expression, reflection, etc (to slightly paraphrase their words). Also note this statement: "these experiences are not reality, but they are real." Too many projects focus on making VR more "reality," while missing what makes them "real." The whole video is very fascinating, especially when they get into using virtual reality to design spaces that make people think more complexly about how they categorize objects in real life. Along the same lines of re-thinking how we do VR - but serving as less complex way of realizing the ELEVR research - is the Google Blocks project which aims to re-imagine how we build 3D objects in a more intuitive way inside VR rather than on a 2D screen.