November 20, 2017

Make the Content

At a recent SXSWedu conference in Austin, however, some of the activities being conducted in the field of user-generated content came into clear sight. Kevin Alster, a learning designer, and Dr. Audrey Heinesen, the VP for product development, both working for the School of the New York Times, provided a presentation on the topic of best practices for user-generated VR content.

At the School of the New York Times, students, budding entrepreneurs, and other interested individuals are able to work with the award-winning New York Times VR Team to learn how to create VR content from scratch. Teaching virtual reality at NYTedu includes design, development, and production in the process, but after running their programs for a full year, they identified some interesting best practices in educational VR content development.

According to Dr. Heinesen, students become excited with “full-on engagement and presence in VR,” but that doesn’t last. Certainly, “VR is just so cool—then we see a drop off.”

 What I learned from NYTedu is that, while the content industry dawdles forward, another revolution is slowly gathering steam. Students are heartily learning to craft their own content. Dr. Heinesen concludes: "We have to move from consumers of high quality content to producers of high quality content.” “[We have to] be conscious creators, not conscious consumers.” Watch out, VR content industry! You may play second fiddle. 

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