Monday, September 8, 2014

Teaching Fish to Climb Trees and the Case for Virtual Reality Learning

Kids respond differently to various teaching styles and environments. Some do better in a more freeform, casual classroom with a laid back teacher, while others need a stricter "driver" personality in a simple room with less distractions. Others thrive when homeschooled and taught in alternative surroundings like backyards or parks.

That's a happy monkey.

Our current school system is flawed because it pushes every single student through the same narrow funnel. If we ever want to fix it, we'll have to address the issue of customized student curriculums while at the same time fighting a declining education budget. But the answer is at hand! And it lies in Virtual Reality.

Imagine this scenario: you wake your kid up in the morning. They brush their teeth, eat their breakfast, and are sent on their way to school. It's business as usual, except for one thing.

There is no bus.
And there is no classroom. 
There's only a visor and a pair of haptic gloves.

Now I know what you're thinking. That they'll be logging into an online world with all the other students and it looks something like this:

Yawn.

But that's wrong. Instead it might look like this:

*Insert idyllic music*

Or maybe like this:

Ancient History 101

That's because the "classroom" for your child has been carefully tweaked and dialed over time until the right environments have been found for them to learn at their best. 

And let's not forget the teacher! Who your child learns from also affects their development. Are they a man? A woman? Do they teach in a high pitched squeak? Low pitched growl? Slow and monotone?

Maybe over time it's discovered that your child learns best when taught by a comical, bumbling, octopus who spouts humorous anecdotes relating to the politics and economics of early American colonies.

Who said learning had to be boring?

The most important aspect of VR learning is that each student gets a customized experience and that they can progress at their own speed.

The answer to our failed education system is right here, in our own homes. Let's start building it.