Virtual Reality for Immersive Education 🕶

Welcome to the Metaverse: education, digital life, and new realities

I remember some time ago, I accidentally clicked on a button while watching a Ted Talk on Youtube:

and I found myself looking at a two-screened, boggly version of the video. 📹 Yup, that’s an option for those who want to watch their videos in Virtual Reality, or VR. (If you don’t have a VR headset and are interested in seeing how this might look like, here’s a cool 360 degree video).

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could feel like we are standing in the audience of a Ted Talk, watching it live and surrounded by the stage and sounds? Or, instead of watching lecture videos online or sit in Zooms, feel like we are sitting in the classroom alongside our students and teachers? Or even better, learn VR through VR? 🤨

If you haven’t yet heard Mark Zuckerberg mention the “metaverse” 20 times in an interview or large tech companies funding VR research, you’ll soon understand why. 😄

  1. 🕶 Virtual Reality (VR) for education

  2. 📈 Trends of online and in-person education

  3. 🌐 Rise of the metaverse

🎙 Δx podcast

After realizing the difficulties and lack of immersiveness of online learning, Nicolas Barone took a gap year from his studies at Cornell as an Applied Mathematics major to found a VR company, combining technology with his passion for educational accessibility. 🙌 They have now taught over 10,000 students and are currently the 3rd largest VR events producer.

But education isn’t the only application for VR. 3D interactions in a virtual setting form the foundations of the “metaverse”. 🌐

A new reality but a digital life, just like you would do things in real life in a new location and meet people, but in a digital sense and represented as a 3D avatar. 🤖

To hear about the intersection of accessible education x VR and trends for the future, give the podcast a listen below or on your favorite podcast app! 👇

💎 Δx takeaways

The idea of VR started in the 1950s and 1960s, but only more recently (in the mid-2010s) did VR become more popular due to the rise commercially available technology.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. 💻🌳

The most well known examples of VR uses include games, surgery, and flight simulators, but there’s a variety of others: military, sports, medical health, and, of course, education. 🏫

Nicolas describes how he is bringing in-person educational experiences online using VR. ☁ Each student is a 3D avatar, and teachers can also be “hologram-like” full body projections to show demos and write on whiteboards. ✏

There’s been a rise of cohort-based learning since the pandemic, from “pandemic pods” to homeschooling to online education. 🖱 VR could take a market share from both virtual and in person learning — the Quest 2 outsold all previous Oculus headsets combined, indicating that this type of technology may be more common and accessible in the future. (You can buy a simple Youtube cardboard viewer for VR for $7!)

VR in education is just one aspect of the metaverse:

“The word "Metaverse" is made up of the prefix "meta" and the stem "verse"; the term is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.” - Wikipedia 🌐

Some examples of companies working on this include Roblox live concerts, Facebook VR social interactions, and Microsoft enterprise metaverse. 👀 A Gucci bag even sold for more money on Roblox than the retail price! 💸 (just goes to show the power of digital lives and virtual realities!)

📰 Δx change

Speaking of Facebook…

  1. 📱 How Facebook (and Instagram/Whatsapp) went down: Last week, Facebook went down because of a BGP and DNS issue. (If you didn’t notice, that’s probably a good sign for you). This article explains in detail what happened.

  1. 🧠 3D printed brain cells: A team of scientists, using a new laser technique, managed to 3D print living, functioning mouse brain cells in the lab.
    Most of the neurons, specifically dorsal root ganglion neurons, survived for over two days after they were printed, making them viable tools for preclinical research.

  2. 💉 WHO announces first malaria vaccine in Africa: World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the wide rollout of a malaria vaccine to protect children in Africa, opening ways for countries to decide how to use the vaccine, the first ever to be approved for a parasitic disease, as part of their malaria control programs.

That’s all for this week! Thank you for reading — hope you enjoyed this edition on VR and the metaverse!


Ellen X

Thanks for reading!

Thank you for being a part of the Delta X community and reading all the way to the end! :D