Recently I have been reading about learning theories by the greats such as Jean Piaget, Seymour Papert, Etienne Wenger, John Dewey, and LeVar Burton. Though I have a heavy load of reading on my plate, I managed to squeeze in some fiction as well with Eric Cline’s Ready Player One. Interestingly enough these theorists and Cline read well together and have brought up many thoughts on the future of education. Papert suggests that the greatest way to learn a subject such as math, would be through computer technology. That by utilizing computers, the student no longer gets taught math in the typical sense, but instead, through interaction and “living” math, they absorb the knowledge and develop a more complete understanding. In the book Ready Player One, school is no longer taught in a physical classroom, instead it is taught through a virtual reality system. This virtual reality system goes far beyond our current idea of virtual schooling, in fact, in the book the students feel as if they were indeed in a physical classroom. They wear a VR system that lets them look around the classroom, interact with others in the class in real time, and pull up additional information screens in their vision. The book goes on to explain how teachers use “quests” to teach students. Instead of reading about how ancient Egypt looked, they could take a guided tour of a photo-realistic virtual world of ancient Egypt.
The technology as it is in Ready Player One is in fact not available today, however we do have surprisingly similar “lesser” technology. With systems such as Oculus, Holo Lens, Google Cardboard, and others we currently can visually interact with virtual 3 dimensional surroundings. In videos such as the one from School of Rock: The Musical found here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFRPXRhBYOI) the viewer has the option to view the video with one of the VR systems and “be in the musical.”. Within this video the viewer can look around the room and discover things like the chords and lyrics of the song being scrolled across the ceiling. This is an incredible example of the future of computer assisted learning that Papert talked about. While this of course is no substitute for guitar lessons, it is however a fully immersive lesson in guitar.
With modern technology such as a Theta camera that creates 360 degree 3D video and the VR systems, teachers can create immersive and interactive lessons now, and not have to wait for the future! Anyways, more to come when I think this over some more.